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Porcupine Tree

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3 stars The first official release by PT, the double album (that's two chunks of vinyl for you youngsters out there) was released by Delerium Records as a pschedelic album, collecting together the most appropriate material from the initial cassette only releases.

As a double, the album consisted of four coherent sides that each flow together quite well... Side 1 - 'First Love' (Tracks 1 to 5). Lots of delicate instumental noodling actings as links between the two main tracks. 'Jupiter Island' is a wonderfully upbeat stormer, whilst 'The Nostalgia Factory' is a blistering sound collage, and one of their best early tracks. Side 2 - 'Second Sight' (Tracks 6 to 9). Again two short fun filler tracks, followed by Radioactive Toy, a PT standard and classic. THis is it's first appearance, and asa studio version is again more delicate than the better known live renditions on Coma Divine and elsewhere. Finally is the surreality of 'Nine Cats'. Most of the lyrics on this album were credited to Mark Duffy - a name that has dissapointingly sunk without a trace. Side 3 - 'Third Eye' (tracks 10 to 14). In my opinion the weakest set, with only the wonderfully joyfull and frenetic 'Linton Samuel Dawson' standing out. Side 4 - 'Forth Bridge' (! I think you need to be British to get the joke at this point) again starts with a couple of fillers, but these lead into 'This Long Silence' - my favourite. The final wind down is provided by 'It will rain for a million years', which does nicely finish off the album. It's not the best PT album, but if you like the group, or early 70's psychedelic type prog then you certainally owe it to yourself to listen to it sometime. Me, I've got it on vinyl, and bought it twice on CD (to get the remastered upgrade). Not typical of the groups later work, but you can tell that it is the origin.

Report this review (#9427)
Posted Wednesday, July 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
Tristan Mulders
3 stars Porcupine Tree - On the Sunday of Life

Porcupine Tree's official debut album is a compilation of remastered or revised versions of previously released songs. Most of the songs are experiments and could best be described as psychedelica. Steven Wilson did not really think this album would be the success it was and most songs were experiments he did for his own pleasure. This might explain why most of the tracks on the album might feel like amateurish work in progress mixes. To be more precise I think there are only about 8 real songs on the album, the other 10 tracks are ambient pieces ranging from a voice telling a surreal story on the track Space Transmission or a drum improvisation as on track 2 Third Eye Surfer.

Some of the more coherent pieces that are worthy multiple listens are relatively short pieces, such as for instance the album opener Music for the Head, which is an ambient song featuring flute playing. Or the Begonia Seduction Scene, which is a guitar-only piece, featuring wonderful acoustic guitar and some electric guitar work near the end.

There are also a few coherent songs, such as the techno-influenced rock song The Nostalgia Factory. This atmospheric song features an extraordinary, though weird, synthesizer solo. The vocals sound as if Wilson inhaled helium right before he started singing, or he could of course simply have raised the pitch ;-).

The album also includes one of the first Porcupine Tree epics and a classic: Radioactive Toy. This song is still often played as an encore track during gigs. The song is easily recognisable because of the monotone singing and the repetitive drums. This might sound very tedious when you read it, but it works surprisingly well. Throw a bit of ambience in the mix via keyboards and some excellent guitar work and you have this interesting psychedelic epic.

Following the manic second half of Radioactive Toy is the acoustic beauty that is Nine Cats. A fan favourite that was rarely, if ever, performed live. The song is a ballad with nothing very special about it, except the drumming, which sound a bit eerie.

Another 'normal' song is track number 13, And the Swallows dance above the Sun. One of my personal favourites when it comes to Porcupine Tree's music. This is perhaps the most up-tempo rocker on the album. In the background you can hear Wilson performing some great soloing, whereas in the front of the mix he's playing some great rhythm guitar, accompanied by a nice drumbeat and good vocals.

The weirdest real song on the album simply has to be This long Silence. It is a up-tempo song. The synthesizer from time to time sounds as if it were played while the musician was on acid or something.

Porcupine Tree's debut end with yet another epic song: It will rain for a Million Years. There are hardly any lyrics included with this song, most of it is instrumental and ambient. The few parts that include vocals are not sung, but spoken. The song progresses the further it continuous on its sonic journey. Together with Radioactive Toy, one could see this song as a teaser for what haunting pieces of music Porcupine Tree would create in a couple years from then.

Report this review (#9431)
Posted Friday, February 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Let's not get carried away here folks. I enjoy PT as much as the next person, but this album is not very good. The few highlights you can find on the album (the excellent Radioactive Toy, Nine Cats, and a few others) are all available on the compilation Stars Die CD - a much better investment of your time and money. This is probably the ONLY PT album I would recommend people don't buy. If you prefer the later albums (like Lightbulb Sun and In Absentia), you are much better off with the Stars Die release. However, I would recommend you take a listen to Signify and The Sky Moves Sideways. Both of these albums are very good.
Report this review (#9433)
Posted Thursday, March 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Considered as the first proper studio album from PT, we find, however that this is a compilation of the early works from Wilson, when he was alone. Considering that all of this work was completely experimental, it is quite obvious that the weirdness here is the trademark through the whole record. Still, there are pieces of the exquisite musical touch from Steve Wilson, which was yet to develop but, even at this early stage and starting Porcupine Tree as a joke, the result is quite interesting and enjoyable.

We find parts of psychedelic instrumental work, atmospheric and strangely vocalized songs, like "Jupiter Island", enjoyable retro-reminiscent songs like "Nine Cats" or even epic and up-and-down mooded songs like "Footprints". Again, as I said, the weirdness. But well performed.

Maybe this is not the most consistent or structured record from Porcupine Tree, but it means a good way to know the roots of this project now converted into a serious and complete band.

Report this review (#55407)
Posted Tuesday, November 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is truly unique in that, being a collection of expreiments from various experimental eps, every song is completely different. While some may say this causes the album to lack in consistency, I find it enriches the musical experience. We can see here the formative stages of Wilson's song writing ability, as he floats between genres and sounds mastering each one with consumate skill. All of the 'song' songs on this record are awesomely done, from the majestic grandeur of 'Radioactive toy' to the dark and haunting 'footprints', sailing in to LSD induced trippiness with 'jupiter island' and 'Linton Samuel Dawson', the gorgeous synths and layers on 'The nostalgia factory and in 'And the swallows dance above the sun'. Although 'Nine Cats' is a basic enough song, the use of such heartfelt vocal strains and the texture of the music, combined with the opium visonesque insane lyrics makes it immenselybeautiful. True, there are many filler tracks, but some, including 'space transmission' and 'message from a self destructing turnip' are clearly awesome. And its not as if previous prog masterpieces (ala 'The Wall') havnt indulged in a lot of silly sample madness from time to time. And although 'Radioactive Toy' is construed by some as a Pink Floyd Rip off, I think this is unfair, since this style is only adopted for one song, and once we have seen Wilson's ability to write such a masterpiece, we can look forward to the vast array of albums that followed this, leading to the ground breaking and releveant music produced by the band to this day.
Report this review (#59720)
Posted Thursday, December 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Here we go! This is actually the only PT album I never got tired on. The opening "Music for the Head" tells you that something wierd, interesting and big is going to follow. The songs "Nine Cats", "The Long Silence" and "Jupiter Island" is for me climax. The creativity is flowing.

The album contains lots of gaps between the songs. Gaps filled with music I don't wanna listen to. So I can't give it five stars : (

But, "On the Sunday of Life....." sure is a excellent album that any psychedelic fan should give a try.

And do not try to compare it with ofter PT albums.

Progarchives Rules!!!

Report this review (#70823)
Posted Wednesday, March 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars It was the first true release of the tree of porcupine, although it is almost excusively carried out by Steven Wilson, playing of the guitars, low, the synthetizers, and the equal drums. Few people make an aspect of guest, but it is not enough for them have a full bite out of a sandwich with ham and Switzerland in a bearing of Kaiser. Of any old fashion, the tree of porcupine makes a delicious beginning of the rising music of the space, driving with far where pink Floyd ceased. It is the kind of music which they should have made, but they must have forgot.

Sunday of the life starts with the music for the head which with me of the marks I wonder why they did not make the music for the stomach or the music the foot. It is a strangeness which makes my ears hot to the noises. The Jupiter island disappears really fast creating the sensation to me as I am a runner speed with a great M on my helmet seeking Trixie. But Trixie is in a helicopter obtaining a quotation of automobile insurance. It has many ordered effects of guitar which are as that those Gilmour supported when they had secrecies in their saucers. Not that I occupy myself from abroad. I am not sure if this song has anything to make with the large red spot on Jupiter or the massive magnetosphere that this place done me with feeling.

The third surfer of eye makes me the wonder about the lizards as I think that one of them has three eyes and if you surfboard and have three eyes, it will make shaving and safety much more probably. The song of title has an impression of McDowell. I no step for some, but he is not like a greasy dish. Then we go to the ground of nostalgia with the song of nest which has some really interesting guitars of outer space and they shout for scrambled eggs and the tutors of the tortoises. The transmission of space must be something which they wanted to send to space, but if you do not direct it anywhere, it is difficult to imagine where your transmission will finish upwards. That seems like an odd thing to make, like speaking with a false dish about beefsteak.

I like the message of a turnip of art of the car-portrait-destructing. Is exactly this what I would expect that a turnip indicates though it indicates many words. I hear that my intestines indicate things, but usually it leaves like waxes. I do not think the turnip wax, but I read a poetry some share which wondered whether wax of ants and if wax of birds. This song or poetry if you like, wire in the radioactive toy shining. This one is spirit balking and exciting with its contagious bear. There is a strange section where there should be words, but I cannot hear them. With precision the analogy with a butterfly is what I would claim to make nice this.

Last nine cats are recreation, with the nice acoustic call. They would leave you with a good number of balls of hair and would probably make a disorder of your couches and other things in your house. Last nine dogs could be ordered, but the song would not have the same significance and you would divert your brain with an avenue of the sauces salad. There is then a light followed anthem of the prints of step. This does not give to me my whole of construction of dreams of chalk and banana and brakes of phantom. Linton Samuel Dawson is strange and I wonder whether Wilson did not have a too great number of beers of root or perhaps it ate things which it would not owe has while this seems a precursor with its concept to travel 34 later in which people eat the things which were not probably very of good taste, but made their brains burst.

I am not sure what to make swallows to dance above the sun. The music trails more towards the end of this album and seems to have made a point with the radioactive toy. I think that it would wound if I were above the sun, these swallows of the poor. Then us here the Crowley quotation of queen. I am not sure what means me and incites it to want to eat of my chocolate cereal faster than ever. There is then a very short thing about any chance with rabbits. I think who depends on what you will make with rabbits. I love rabbit of bugs. The scene of seduction of begonia encourages me to want to observe a film and to think of all the precursors of hammocks and things of slip. Then there are a long silence, which are not quiet whole, but completely of noises and bilberry bear and wheels of formation. The longest song finishes this with it will rain during million years. It is a nice end which overcomes a part of the trouble of the last ways. I would think if it rained million years, could have to us to live in boats, but I do not see how it could rain that a long time. I can only remember to rain during three days. Then I ate many bearings.

In a general way, it is a delicious experiment for my ears of listening and I appreciated it much. However, a part of the album seems to trail length and I have many questions on the subject of this which continues with really involving me with much abnormal confusion. Thus that in my spirit, I must continue to consider it excellent and not a chief of work, meaning it will fill my carriages with train that the boxes with four holds the first role. I would strongly recommend this for the interesting people what like him to have left confused time and horsemanship in my washing machine.

Report this review (#73669)
Posted Friday, March 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I borrowed this from a friend a few weeks ago, who said to me 'many fans don't like this, but I do'. Being a big PT fan, I hoped it wasn't too bad. certainly wasn't! I can see why some fans, the more recent ones probably, wouldn't be too keen on it. It is not like their recent stuff. Now I like In Absentia, though it is a little too heavy for me at times. Haven't got Deadwing yet, but I believe that is along the same lines. Well, this is a million miles from either of those! It is quirky, funny, pyschedic, atmospheric and powerful in turns. Some tracks, such as 'Jupiter Island', 'The Nostalgia Factory' and 'Linton Samuel Dawson' are very '60s influenced, especially in the keyboard department. But they are still excellent, catchy songs, especially the very clever 'Nostalgia Factory' which has lyrics in the middle of it that aren't sung, but just printed in booklet, and which lead on nicely to the later, rather better known song 'Nine Cats'. There is an acoustic version of this on the bonus disc that comes with the remastered 'Signify' album, but here it is more electric. And it is superb! 'Music For The Head', 'Third Eye Surfer', 'On The Sunday Of Life...' are all brief atmospheric pieces, keyboard dominated, and again very good. 'Space Transmission' is very reminiscent, (maybe intentionally) of an old '50s or early '60s sci-fi radio broadcast, with a spoken voice over a disturbing electronic background, and it has, at one point, a very creepy clock ticking... wonderful stuff! 'Hymn', 'No Luck With Rabbits' and 'Message From A Self Destructing Turnip' are even briefer, yet still amusing instrumental little pieces. Of course, the future of PT can be heard in some songs here, not only in the best known song on here, 'Radioactive Toy' but also in tunes like 'And The Swallows Dance Above The Sun', 'It Will Rain For A Million Years' and even, in a way,in the weird, almost backwardly played wordless vocal and guitar track 'Queen Quotes Crowley'. Oh, and another little gem, quite in keeping with the PT catalogue is the lovely 'Begonia Seduction Scene'. I couldn't pick a favourite on here...I like them all! (Though I do have an extra soft spot for 'The Nostalgia Factory'. Those who want the more metal tinged style of the last few years may not like this, but fans of the band in general, who enjoy all the different phases the band move through, should still get much pleasure out of this. It is different, in a way similar to the way 'Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' is different from subsequent Pink Floyd releases, yet you can still tell it is PT. A more than worthy addition to your collection.
Report this review (#78843)
Posted Saturday, May 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
Fight Club
3 stars All I can say is that this is a highly underrated album. Steven Wilson may not quite have developed the full PT sound yet, and the consistancy that the later albums hold, but this is a really one unique musical experience. Each song is completely different and practically pass through multiple genres in a single song. Yet one can still tell it's Steven Wilson's work whilst listening! That is one of the qualities that makes Steven Wilson such a great musician and songwriter. This album is truly a journey though the vast experimental soundscapes explored by Porcupine Tree.
Report this review (#81004)
Posted Monday, June 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars I nearly had a heart attack when I listened to this.

I've become an instant fan of Porcupine Tree and they're one of my favourite band of all time. So before we go in-depth I have to stress that I absolutely adore the band.

But this record (and it probably isn't even fair to review this, since it's just very very early material from the late eighties / early nineties pulled from tapes) is cringeworthy.

It's pretty much a sprawling mess. I thought I was going to get 18 decent songs from the PT early days, but it turns out that most of them are ambient filler, which only leaves around 8 songs, none of them particularly good. Some of it sounds like 80's synth-pop, think (I can't believe I'm saying this) Boy George.

Steven Wilsons voice is a lot higher as this is a compilation of the first PT songs, before they actually had a line up. A couple of the tracks have his voice on a synth, and it's just horrible. I realise that this is really early stuff that was pretty much a joke, even to Steven Wilson, and just a little fun, I really don't think this album deserves the Porcupine Tree name on the cover. It's really that bad. You won't know what you're in for until you buy it (which I suggest you don't, even if you're a really big fan of Porcupine Tree's later work, like me) but it sounds nothing like what the band have fabricated themselves into today.

Definetely not a good starting point for anyone listening to Porcupine Tree. I would reccomend their later masterpieces, such as "Deadwing", "In Absentia" and Stupid Dream. "The Sky Moves Sideways" is also fantastic for anyone wanting to explore the more experimental side of the band.

There are only a couple of good songs on here, like "Radioactive Toy" and "Nine Cats", which are available on their "Stars Die" collection.

Avoid. Seriously.

Report this review (#89372)
Posted Sunday, September 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Here we have Porcupine Tree's debut album, (really just a Steve Wilsion solo album) and with me being a Porcupine Tree fan boy I am only going to give this two stars. And recommend it to Psychedelic/Space Rock fans or PT fans looking to know how the band came to be.

The album contains a lot of Psychedelic/Space noodling which some people may enjoy, but I find very hard to listen to. I saw anther reviewer write that this album needs a lot of patience, and I would have to agree, for the noodiling does not take you anywhere.

The actual (normal?) songs on the album are all top notch though. You have some hints at what PT has become with tracks like And the Swallows dance above the Sun, and It will rain for a Million Years, and Nine Cats. Then some odd, but enjoyable techno space rock songs like The Nostalgia Factory. And finally you have the PT classic Radioactive Toy that really shows us what PT has become almost to the fullest extent (and can be heard as at nearly every PT concert).

Overall not a bad album, eight tracks ten filers, but not highly recommended.

Report this review (#89374)
Posted Sunday, September 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars The only word I was able to speak during listening of this fantasy was: Wow!

Here we have one of most mystical and beautiful works in music of nineties. Well, this is much underrated work, and may I say: difficult one to find. But this album shows all musical genius of Steven Wilson. He played guitar here, played keyboards, put sampled drums, made all beautiful computer effects, made a visionary piece of music. He experimented, made music for future, made history.

This was my second Porcupine Tree experience, as my first Porcupine Tree album was "In Absentia", but the first track I have heard ever of this band was "Music for the Head", from this album. When I heard this ambient, trans-like, hypnotic piece, I was so much impressed that impression lasted for days. My musical taste was changed in that moment. Before this I was in some kind of period in between grunge rock towards first progressive style I discovered, and it was progressive metal. Music of Porcupine Tree has taken me into sophisticated, futuristic, free minded progressive world, for all time up to now.

This album is excellent example of space rock, with perfect interstellar keyboards, beautifully arranged vocals, that fit so good in overall sound, together with excellent guitar which made me crazy! All songs are well connected on album, atmospheres unique, and this feeling which are unique for this album, never loose its flow. Here are many fantastic songs, I will mention "Radioactive Toy", which is still one of favorite Porcupine Tree live songs, excellent, atmospheric, "Nine Cats", or "And the Swallows Dance Above", such excellent track based on psychedelic drums, and mind blowing vocals.

This is where space rock was reborn. It is very important album as it is awakening from dull music of eighties. It is not similair to today's Porcupine Tree albums, but that is essence of the band: always moving on the other sides.

Any new fan of Porcupine Tree will not miss this one, probably, and all fans of psychedelic/space rock need this album as an anthological piece; for all prog fans, this is example of historical step forward in progressive music.

Report this review (#98435)
Posted Sunday, November 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Not essential for PT music but consists some beautifull songs and impressive instrumental parts together with some ambient miniatures. Few songs from this LP like Radioactive Toy and Nine Cats are timeless.
Report this review (#101505)
Posted Sunday, December 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars If I could rate any PT album less than 4 stars it would definitely be this one. Why? Simply because this album is more a Steven Wilson solo album rather than a true Porcupine Tree album with a "real" bass player and "real drummer". In this album Steven Wilson is more experimenting and plays all the instruments himself. This in it self is already rather astonishing I must say :-)

So what are the really great songs on "On The Sunday Of Life"? Well, actually I think there are only three:

1) the first one would be "Radioactive Toy". This song is a true PT classic and is often played as an encore during PT's live concerts. I also heard it play live once by Riverside and it was greatly "copied". I really enjoyed hearing this classic PT song being played by Riverside, my second favourite band, just after PT. 2) the second great song is called "Nine Cats" and this is a great acoustic piece. Great acoustic guitar accompanied by the warm voice of Steven Wilson. Really nice and funny lyrics too! I love this part:

"Fat toad stood in his ballet shoes Teaching sixteen kangaroos How to skip across a lake They found it hard to stay awake A pharaoh played a merry tune And watched nine cats dance on the moon I didn't know what all this meant I didn't know why I'd been sent."

All of the lyrics are really funny like that! :-) Too bad SW used a drum computer on this album: it makes it all sound a bit eerie. Maybe SW will decide to re-issue the album once and have the drum parts play by Gavin Harrison, just like on the re-issue of "Up The Downstair".

3) the third masterpiece of this album would be "It Will Rain For a Million Years". This track mostly is an instrumental ambient track with just some words spoken rather than sung by SW. It give a good idea where PT would go next with albums like "The Sky Moves Sideways". Together with "Radioactive Toy", these are really the two epics of On The Sunday Of Life.

Once again: it will be very hard for me, as a true PT fan, to rate any PT album less than 4 stars, but if there would be one, this would probably be it. Probably closer to 3.5 stars though.

Report this review (#107047)
Posted Wednesday, January 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Like much debut material, On The Sunday of Life... comes off a bit directionless and naive. In fact, for the first few listens it will probably sound like little more than a bunch of high school musicians banging on instruments in their garage with a tape recorder running. The style expressed here, excluding some instances, sounds nothing like what we would later hear from the band, even if the spacey tendencies are present.

Particular moments of this album are simply sublime, however those moments linger too long without any change or embellishment, so the record comes off very repetitive/monotonous at times. Most of the songs are complete throwaways especially the spoken word narrations with sparse instrumentation. In reality, this album only contains two full, complete, good songs, Radioactive Toy and Nine Cats. However, the former even outstays its welcome by about a minute, and both songs are available in much better versions to be released later in the band's lifespan.

Report this review (#112226)
Posted Thursday, February 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars On the Sunday of Life..... was the last Porcupine Tree album for me to acquire of the recent reissues. I had it in my head that this was a very scatter shot record, thoughts embedded surely by constant forum rhetoric about the shortcomings of the album--or perhaps a lack of acknowledgment of it in debate at all! Well, the people were right, in a way. On the Sunday of Life..... is all over the place musically. If one's looking for a binding theme to bring it all together, good luck finding one! It is basically a collection of songs from the earliest days of Porcupine Tree, which basically consisted of Steve Wilson in a home studio churning out some of the best Barrett-era Pink Floyd-influenced songs with the comforting overtone of ambiance and space-out music we would come to enjoy from later Porcupine Tree efforts, such as Voyage 34 and Up the Downstair. The musical content is wondrously advanced compared with what I was led to expect from the album. It's still rather raw around the edges, heard especially in the jangling acoustic strums on "Nine Cats," but the production is spot-on throughout.

In the liner notes of On the Sunday of Life....., Wilson reveals that about half of the music this album was all written and recorded in the mid-eighties, when he was still in his high school day! *Cue jaw-dropping* It shows great fortitude on his part, to be sure. Granted that some of the songs are just silly, which may or may not be due to the lyricist on most of the tracks: Alan Duffy, a friend of Wilson. A great many of the songs just scream "SYD BARRETT!!!" with a healthy dose of psychedelia and whimsy almost omnipresent throughout On the Sunday of Life..... Of course, a major exception to this observation would be "Radioactive Toy," which deals with the subject of nuclear paranoia.

Many of the songs on On the Sunday of Life..... are--I don't want to say "throwaway tracks"--but just not incredibly essential. They do add the the feeling of the album without being essential to the Porcupine Tree uninitiated. Basically: don't expect a good 3/4 of these songs to crop up in 21st century Porcupine Tree concerts. My favorite songs would be "On the Sunday of Life.../The Nostalgia Factory," "Radioactive Toy," "Nine Cats," "And the Swallows Dance Above the Sun" and "It Will Rain for a Million Years." These songs alone warrant any fan of spacey music to take a close look at the early stages of Porcupine Tree.

I do indeed enjoy every second of this quirky release, but compared to the rest of Porcupine Tree's career, it is certainly unrefined. On the Sunday of Life..... is a charming release, full of enjoyable if not brilliant songs. Don't be fooled by the rating; it is essential for any hardcore Porcupine Tree fan, and worthy of any music collection.

Report this review (#112513)
Posted Saturday, February 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars For those of you who don't know- this is from the archives: "Mostly compiled from two prior cassette releases "Tarquin's Seaweed Farm" (1989) and "The Nostalgia Factory" (1990). CD reissued in repackaged and remastered form in November 1997." Don't think of this as 'vintage' Porcupine Tree. Rather, a pile of waste. Let me explain. There I was, at the Virgin record store in San Francisco, browsing through progressive rock. I came across PT- and this album begged me to grab it. For just under 14 dollars I purchased what I thought was going to be some great music by a terrific band. And then I played it, and was disgusted! I can't go through song by song, or even go into much detail. The way I see it- this CD has 3 redeemable tracks. Did I mention this CD had 18 tracks? Yes, only 3. "Radioactive Toy", "Nine Cats", and "It will rain for a million years" The funny thing is- if you put these 3 tracks on another PT album they would be the weakest link. That's how awful this album is. The rest of the tracks on the album sound like brainless experiments in noise. Some of the music production is so bland and fake sounding that it is almost laughable. I think Steven Wilson should be ashamed of repackaging such crap. Avoid, Avoid, and Avoid.
Report this review (#118219)
Posted Thursday, April 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars hmmm a compilation

PT as a truly prog band. out there. testing the limits. getting it wrong. getting it right. some of it probably better received by the trekkies out there. Although listening to a message from a self destrucitng turnip I'd reckon Hitch Hikers Guide was more appropriate.

Radioactive toy has lots of Floyd overtones, undertones and in-betweeny tones.

LSD is bizarre and weird. Funny that.

The start of Swallows proabably gives a better window into where PT may go than any other track. Hindsight is great. The middle and end descend into that sort of weirdness that can end in either genius or smelly nappies. Well ... it ain't genius. No Luck with rabbits is worse.

Begonia Seduction Scene.Sounds like a grade 3 guitar piece. God how I hated grade 3. Oh and It will rain for a million years. That's how long you should wait before hearing this album. Although having listened to Third Eye Surfer you may think that 1 million years is too soon.

The Long Silnce sounds like The Buggles.

To me there are two ways of approaching this album. Either as an insight into the early years of one of the greatest contenporary prog bands in which case it's a 4-5 star album, or as compilation of a band in its very formative stages in which case it is a 1-2 star.

Have to be honest. I've got all their stuff and this is by far the least listened to.

good luck if you get this one

Report this review (#120468)
Posted Tuesday, May 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars The jagged, dissonant, at times obnoxious debut album of now legendary Steven Wilson (going by the name of Porcupine Tree) was extremely promising, despite being under-produced, a bit too long, and sorta silly. this album still contains very good melodies, Floydian guitar work and captivating lyrics (which, as I understand, were not all written by the great Wilson himself). The main focus of the album is experimentation. There is very little which can parallel pop music, or anything finely structured, or mapped perfectly. This extremely psychedelic album is borderline ambient, with hypnotic synthetic drums (still annoying!) and alluring keyboard effects. Steven didn't require more than this album to find his feet, and I actually think he found his feet somewhere in the middle.

Some tracks are clearly stronger than others, with more substantial melodies and a a more compelling atmosphere. These are typically the longer songs, naturally. Very little from this album is still played live any more, but surprisingly enough, more than from other releases. Some tracks are electric, with upbeat tempo. Others are more ambient-like in nature, extremely experimental, with much keyboards, subtle percussion and melodious guitar work. Wilson is really able to make it seem as if a band is jamming, when indeed it is mainly programmed music (which is hard! I've tried!). Though this is a rather in-accessible release, some Porcupine Tree fans will enjoy it (those who have the patience for such under-produced music).

Report this review (#128965)
Posted Monday, July 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Porcupine Tree's début album is really a Steven Wilson solo album made up of songs from previous cassette releases and as such the music contained is a bit irregular in style but thankfully not quality. Anyone who has only heard their recent albums would find it hard to believe that the same band released this album. There are several songs on this album which point in the direction PT would later follow.

The album opener is Music for the Head which is a sort spaced out instrumental which leads into Jupiter Island. Which is again a very spaced out song this time with Steven Wilson singing through a vocoder. Not one of my favourites but this is still a very good song .

Third Eye Surfer is another short effects laden instrumental track as is the album's title track (something PT would repeat with Stupid Dream) which leads in to The Nostalgia Factory. A slow and ambient intro leads to a section which sounds similar to later albums, however the vocals are still being sung through the vocoder so the song has a different feel to later PT songs.

Space Transmission is mostly spoken again through a vocoder, which gives the words a very intense sound, Message from a Self Destructing Turnips is another spoken pieces which leads into Radioactive Toy which is easily the best song on the album. Slow and atmospheric with rockier sections this piece points in the direction PT would take in the future and remains a live favourite (the versions on Coma Divine and Rockpalast show this well).

Nine Cats is a very different piece to Radioactive Toy as it starts as an acoustic piece, with keyboards and electric guitars adding to the sound later in the piece. The music in this song is also reminiscent of future PT material.

Hymn is another short instrumental which leads into the slow and almost ambient into to Footprints which with the addition of drums during the chorus becomes a quite powerful piece.

Linton Samuel Dawson is a very up tempo piece about LSD from an outsiders point of view apparently, again the vocals are through a vocoder which makes them sound very high pitched. This song bears little similarity to any of Steven Wilson's projects but I would be interested to head him write more in this style.

And the Swallows Dance Above the Sun is an odd track with an obvious drum machine beat combined with very ambient keyboards and vocals, not the best song on the album but certainly not a bad song.

Queen Quotes Crowley is technically an instrumental but only because the vocals cannot be understood when played normally, the music behind the backwards vocals is very typical of this album in that it's psychedelic and quiet up tempo.

No Luck With Rabbits and Begonia Seduction Sequence are the final short instrumentals of this album and lead in to This Long Silence which again features vocals through a vocoder and the up tempo psychedelia that this albums is full of.

The final song on this album is It Will Rain for a Million Years which opens unsurprisingly with the sound of rain, this is another song which points in the direction PT would later take. It's a good way to end the album.

On the Sunday of Life is a hotchpotch of different ideas and styles but despite that it is still a very strong album.

Report this review (#132642)
Posted Saturday, August 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars The first offical PORCUPINE TREE album is a lot better than I thought or heard it would be. To quote Steven Wilson "On The Sunday Of not really an album in the tradtional sense; i still think of it as being a compilation of material originally issued on pre-record deal cassettes recorded between 1988-91" I couldn't agree more with stonebeard's review that this sounds very much like it was inspired by Syd Barrett era PINK FLOYD. And it's not very cohesive, it's all over the place really but it works. I guess my love for Psychedelic music is what really draws me to this one, but also the fact that for three years now i've been driving my daughter to University and back home (2 hour drive both ways)several times a year, and PORCUPINE TREE has been our music of choice for all those drives. So listening to this reminds me of driving in the sunshine on a Sunday (of life) . Great memories !

"Music For The Head" seems like it was inspired by Krautrock to me, with the voices, flute, synths and the Eastern vibe. "Jupiter Island" is a Syd inspired tune that features some fast paced drumming. It's a charming little Psychedelic tune with lyrics like "Come on let's fly to Jupiter Island". "Third Eye Surfer" is a really cool song with odd metered drumming from John Marshall along with synths and keys. It's about as dissonant as PORCUPINE TREE gets. It blends into "On The Sunday Of Life..." with a lot of the same kinds of sounds. "The Nostalgia Factory" has an excellent sound a minute in that reminds me of RUSH for some reason, and then it changes to a good beat after 1 1/2 minutes with vocals to follow. Nice guitar 3 1/2 minutes in and then it breaks off into a spacey passage to end it. "Space Transmission" and "Message From A Self-Destructing Turnip" are both kind of strange with spoken words. Psychedelic at it's extreme I guess you could say. "Radioactive Toys" has some nice heavy guitar melodies and slowly pounding drums. Then 4 minutes in we get spacey interlude before the main melody returns. More great guitar to follow. "Nine Cats" is my favourite and it has strummed guitar and vocals as bubbling synths and guitar join in.

"Hymn" has some strange vocal sounds and synths. Another experimental piece. "Footprints" is one of my favourites. It again reminds me of Syd Barrett era PINK FLOYD. Spoken words, acoustic guitar and synths are contrasted with the outbreaks that follow throughout this tune. "Linton Samuel Dawson" hmmm...LSD ? Anyway the vocals remind me of Geddy Lee hahaha. This is an upbeat, fun song. I love the synths on "And The Swallows Dance Above The Sun" and it has a good beat as well. "Queen Quotes Crowley" is a funny title and the song is another favourite of mine. Some good guitar with lots of psychedelic affects."No Luck With Rabbits" is a short instrumental of synths, while "Begonia Seductive Scene" has some great sounding acoustic guitar and synths. "The Long Silence" has some aboe in it as well as some terrific vocals from Steven. I love this stuff ! "It Will Rain For A Million Years" opens with the sound of rain and thunder and then synths are added. Lots of atmosphere to this one.The guitar comes in and then flute, the guitar is Gilmour-like. Reserved vocals arrive 5 minutes in as the guitar cries out. Another fantastic song !

There are 7 songs on this record that are amazing. My favourite is "Nine Cats" while "Radioactive Toy" and "It Will Rain For A Million Years" round out my top three. This is an excellent PINK FLOYD inspired release from PORCUPINE TREE that I highly recommend.

Report this review (#135082)
Posted Monday, August 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I know a lot of PT's fan don't like this, and I certainly don't recommend a fan of their newer stuff should get this - not for a while, at least. This is for those fans that have at least 5 or more PT albums in their collection, then become interested in the bizarre history of how the band/ Steve Wilson started (because that's what happened to me)

PT are often likened to Pink Floyd - so much so, that Steve Wilson is probably somewhat annoyed by it, and wants PT to be its own band, and he shouldn't worry - they really are! I know you see a fair number of Pink Floyd tee-shirts at their gigs - but he shouldn't worry -treat it as a compliment!

Many years ago - as a fan of Pink Floyd, I became a bit to fascinated by the sad story of Syd Barrett, and went and found a copy of Piper at The Gates of Dawn. I totally loved it! - and it remains one of my favourite albums of all time. It was pure psychedelia with the beginnings of Space Rock as you all know! The old fashioned feel mixed with the fascinating story of Syd Barrett makes it all the more meaningful.

More recently I have gotten into PT, and with time developed quite an interest in how SW started it all - faking a band with weird band members such as Timothy Tadpole Jones etc... and also putting together all by himself on his own equipment - something any one of you can do by the way.

Having many PT albums in my collection, I strove to find a copy of "On the Sunday of Life...", and found one of the most bizarre and peculiar albums I have ever heard. With the odd story and old fashioned feel - it felt just like the re-discovery of "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" (although admittedly very different), and I was instantly hooked. (note - a similar thing happened to me with Genesis)

I know a lot of PT fans hate this, but I disagree - I think they probably went for this too soon. The better way is to get to know most of their other music, then with this behind you - get interested in the beginnings, then buy this.

It's truly awesome - soft gentle beginning with Music for the Head (makes you feel like you are floating!), then it really is the total "rediscovery" of Psychedelia. This album really is psychedelic, just like no-one else had done since the end of the 60`s. Then, amazingly - like Interstellar Overdrive and Astronomy Domine - you find repeated here again the beginnings of Prog Rock in Radioactive Toy and It will Rain for a Million Years. The rest is a facsinating journey through a re-birth of psychedelia - Jupiter Island, The Nostalgia Factory, Nine Cats (my personal favourite), Footprints, Linton Samuel Dawson, The Swallows Dance around the Sun, Queen Quotes Crowley (essence of Pow R Toc H), and This Long Silence are all truly amazing tracks - and fascinate me how he ever thought of them and put them together.

On the sleeve notes, SW says ever so occasionally he meets someone who says that this is their favourite PT album - not sure I am quite one of those, but I very nearly am!

5 stars - but remember follow the right path. If you get it too soon, you may well not like it. Be patient, and it will be!

Report this review (#137055)
Posted Saturday, September 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars These are rather hesitant debuts. Well not actually debut since most of the tracks were only featured on demo cassettes. But for easier access to these songs, it was a good idea to get them in the CD format, potentially remastered in 1997.

It is also a one-man work since Steven Wilson plays all the instruments. There will be some very good songs featured. Only for these ones, this album is of deep interest for die-hard PT fans.

When you listen to "Jupiter Island" I can only compare it to the early Floyd : psychedelia like I like it while "Third Eye Surfer" is truely spacey. "Nostalgia Factor" also deserves your attention : repetitive, smooth vocals, great beat,and good synths for one of the best songs from this album. Another fave of mine is "Radio active Toy" (covered by "Riverside" during some live acts). Truely space-rock. A pleasant "voyage", full of crying guitar.

The gentle "Nine Cats" is also close to some Floyd work ("Piper", "ASOS"). Very nice melody, and such a sweet song. Like "Begonia Seduction Scene".

"This Long Silence" almost sounds as "A Forest" (The Cure). More upbeat than the other songs of this release and quite successful. It is also a highlight on this album. It is very welcome after a succession of weaker songs. Definitely needed to raise the quality to a decent level.

There will also be some experimental music which is not my cup of tea ("Music For The Head", "On The Sunday Of Life", "Message...", "Hymn", "Queen Quotes...", "No Luck". Fortunately all of these are shortly formatted.

Several songs won't range into either one of these two categories : "Footprints", "Linton...", "And The Swollows...". Just average songs, fully dispensible.

"Space Transmission" and its apocaliptical recitation about an earth without sun is only interesting for some listenings, but you could barely listen to it on a regular basis and "It Will Rain For A Million Years" only displays, here and there, some pleasant spacey sturcture. But almost eleven minutes of this is a bit too much.

This album is lenghty and since most of the good tracks are located on the first half of the album except "Long Slence", it is a bit indigest while you reach the end of it. If it would have been cut by thirty minutes or so, I guess that few would have complained. As such, this album is only for die-hard fans (even if four songs or so are realy valuable).

Two stars.

Report this review (#138399)
Posted Saturday, September 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Im proud to have an origianal double vinyl specimen of this album. This is the album that introduced me to Porcupine Tree back in 1993 and it is very personal to me. It has some great tracks, most of the already mentioned in earlier reviews, and some more experimantal phycadelic tracks like. "space transmisson. I dont know if this album is a joke or not, and I dont care. To to me this is an essential PT album, and I would recommend it to people who has an open minded aproach on phycadelic expermantal music.
Report this review (#139549)
Posted Friday, September 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
2 stars If the listener goes in knowing what to expect-- namely that "On the Sunday of Life" sounds nothing like anything else ever released by the band-- then the shock of hearing this very ambient and eccentric collection of songs will probably go over a lot smoother than it did for me during my first listen. It's been a long time since I backtracked through Steven Wilson's extensive catalogue, and I warn fans of Porcupine Tree doing the same to be wary when approaching this one-- it is not at all like the big art-rock they put out today.

"Sunday of Life" is a proto-type of the band's well respected early sound, recorded and performed entirely by SW. The emphasis is on atmosphere, effects, and going on a musical journey that is sometimes exciting and sometimes frustrating-- but always weird, which is a big part of its charm. Wilson's guitar work is deceptively good here, at first coming across as somewhat repetitive and bland but blooming into dynamic soundscapes which stand side-by-side with his layered keyboard. His voice retains a higher register than we hear today, and his lyrics are positively bizarre. Highlights include "Radioactive Toy" (the only song which sounds similar to later material, and is still played live), as well as the follow-up "Nine Cats", which features fun lyrics and a beautiful vocal delivery.

To sum up, "Sunday of Life" is by no means bad, but when compared to later output just doesn't hold up. Still, I highly recommend this to dedicated Steven Wilson fans, as well as those who prefer PT's more psychedelic albums to their contemporary hard rock ones.

Songwriting: 2 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 2 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Report this review (#146922)
Posted Thursday, October 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Out of place, out of time, an in-joke, anything you like, this 'debut' is still an impressive collection of sounds and sentiments signalling STEVEN WILSON's prodigious talent.

'Debut' is in inverted commas because this collection is culled from two previously issued cassettes. These cassettes are contemporaneous with the first material issued by NO-MAN, of whom WILSON was a part. So this is less of a debut and more of a 'story so far'.

The material here is unabashedly psychedelic, a throwback to the late 1960s, WILSON's pretence at being a real band. I suspect there's a degree of retrospective embarrassment at this effort, though there ought not to be. Yes, much of the material is dispensable, but it certainly reflects the period he is trying to simulate. With drugged-out lyrics (not WILSON's, by and large, which explains why they're so much more upbeat than anything he's done since) and trippy music, WILSON manages to make his tape loops, electronic drums and overdubbed instruments sound like a real band.

There are plenty of highlights, not just the well-known worthy tracks such as 'Radioactive Toy' and 'Nine Cats', but also the weird 'Space Transmission', the druggy 'Jupiter Island' - a counterpart to 'Itchycoo Park' - and the ambient 'It Will Rain For A Million Years'.

This is not indispensable PORCUPINE TREE. In fact, it's not really PORCUPINE TREE at all. But it's enormous fun. It's just the sort of thing you ought to listen to as an antidote to some of the more pompous offerings out there - including, dare I say it, some of Mr. WILSON's own latter efforts.

Report this review (#151295)
Posted Saturday, November 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars I must say I'm astonished about the average for this album so far (3,20!). I already intended to do this one today and was curious what other people thought of this unofficial debut by PT. I expected an average of at least one point lower but see: surprise surprise. The only reason I can think of that this is still a respected effort by this great English band is the only track that is worthwhile but then I mean really worthwhile: Radioactive toy. This is a PT-classic, one of there best songs ever !

But that's all I can think of because the rest is really extremely poor and then I'm talking about ratings between 1 and 2 stars. The best I can say about the rest is that there are some strange compositions amongst them, maybe there are people that feel attracted to this kind of ... (I wanted to say rubbish, but one the progarchiverules is: no abusive language). The other possibility is that they love Radioactive Toy so much that they give 3 stars (or even more) for the entire album. I have no such intentions because I feel you have to give a fair review for a whole album. So I give 2 stars and if it weren't for the mentioned song it would even have been one. Still I can think of 3 reasons to get this album: 1) Radioactive toy 2) to complete your PT-collection 3) to hear what PT was like in their early days just out of sheer curiosity.

Report this review (#153098)
Posted Thursday, November 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars This young man shows promise!

"On the Sunday of life" is where it all began for Porcupine Tree, who started out as a side project of Steve Wilson's from his work with No Man (yes, No Man actually came first). Those who have come to know the band through their more recent releases such as "Stupid Dream" and "In absentia", (and even those whose came across them around the time of "Coma devine" or "The sky moved sideways") should approach this album with a measure of caution. The band (this is in reality a solo album) were very much in their infancy at this time, still looking for a solid direction and experimenting with various styles and sounds. With the benefit of hindsight, "On the Sunday of life" can initially be seen as being too diverse, and lacking in any sort of focus.

Originally consisting of two separate cassettes ("Tarquin's Seaweed Farm" and "The Nostalgia Factory"), the album was brought together as a single piece for CD release. Some of the compositions, such as "Footprints" and "Jupiter Island", stem from Wilson's adolescent days. Unlike subsequent albums, on a number of songs, Wilson is not the main lyric writer here; that responsibility being assumed by his teenage friend Alan Duffy. Consequently, there are many abstract and impenetrable (drug influenced?) lyrics. While Wilson himself would make many overt references to drugs on later albums, he has subsequently indicated that he was not always comfortable setting lyrics written by a third party to music which he was composing, especially when he was not actually collaborating with the lyricist.

Most of these tracks went from conception to finished product in a very short space of time, written and recorded in Wilson's home studio without any post-production or convoluted arrangements. Even when the "best" tracks from the two source cassettes were brought together to form this album, the intention was not to create something for the mass market. It is only through the inquisitiveness of fans of the band that this has become a widely available album at all.

With the foregoing in mind, we should perhaps not expect too much from this debut, and that is certainly the best way to approach it. Here we have no less than 18 tracks running to over 75 minutes. It is advisable to keep the remote control handy when playing the album, to facilitate skipping over the dodgiest pieces.

The opening instrumental "Music for the head" is actually strongly indicative of the ambient, spacey, psychedelic influences which would adorn the succeeding albums. It is one of a number of such instrumentals. The title track (originally called "Clarinet Vignette/Nun's cleavage(right)") is particularly notable for the inclusion of oboe prior to the piece completely degenerating. "Jupiter island" on the other hand is firmly rooted in the sounds of the 60's, Wilson's vocals being decidedly Marc Bolan like. The Floydian instrumental backing is pure Barrett, with suitably floating sounds. Considering the severe limitations of the source medium, the sound on this track, and indeed on the album as a whole (I have the 2004 Snapper remaster) is wonderfully crisp and clear. "The nostalgia factory" continues the Barrett era style, Wilson's vocals sounding distinctly influenced by helium.

The feature track is undoubtedly "Radioactive toy", a song which would go on to become a live favourite and a highlight on the "Coma divine" album. There is no doubt this is the closest we come to trademarks of the band we now know as Porcupine Tree, including distorted vocals, a heavy rhythm and incisive guitar. This was the only track Wilson completely re-recorded for the album.

"Nine cats" continues to emphasise the eclectic nature of the album, being initially a soft, reflective piece with delicate vocals. As the track develops, the guitar subtly loudens to an abrupt conclusion. "Footprints" has suggestions of the dramatic structure which distinguished the much later "This is no rehearsal", with quiet verses alternating with suddenly loud choruses.

Tracks such as "Linton Samuel Davidson" and "And the swallows dance above the sun" continue to absorb the early Floyd influences while providing tantalising glimpses of the path the band would follow. "No luck with rabbits" is one of the tracks where the experimentation goes into overdrive, the entire piece consisting of distortions of recordings of a musical box.

"The long silence" is another track which offers a good indication of what is to follow, the piece sounding genuinely impressive as a result of the remastering. The album closes with a final nod to pink Floyd, but this time their Gilmour era, the 10 minute "It will rain for a million years" featuring some fine lead guitar work supported by a heavy rhythm.

In all, while "On the Sunday of life" lacks the focus and clear cut character of its successors, that is the paradoxically the album's strength. The diversity of the music and styles here can be disconcerting, but those who persist will be rewarded with a veritable wealth of sounds created by an enthusiastic young man with an exceedingly bright future.

Report this review (#154045)
Posted Tuesday, December 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
Crossover/Symphonic/RPI Teams
4 stars On the Sunday of Life was Porcupine Tree's first studio album, comprising of songs that were originally on two cassette-only releases that came out prior to On the Sunday of Life. These were titled Tarquin's Seaweed Farm (1989) and The Nostalgia Factory (1990). The music on this debut album was done almost entirely by its founder Steven Wilson who had made up the entire Porcupine Tree thing as a fictional band and treated it as some sort of charade. He recorded the contents of this album in his own home on his own equipment and was inspired primarily by the psychedelic bands of the 1970s. Although Wilson was preoccupied with his No Man project at the time, Porcupine Tree began receiving interest from the music press and Wilson began seeing Porcupine Tree as potentially marketable. After signing with Delirium, Wilson was invited to make a double album containing the music from the previous two cassette releases. However, Wilson decided instead to take the best songs from both cassettes and release it as a single album.

On the Sunday of Life is a collection of peculiar tunes, chiefly spacey and psychedelic in nature. There are shorter pieces of spoken word fed through elaborate effects (like Ummagumma-era Pink Floyd), odd-sounding songs like Jupiter Island which are reminiscent of Syd Barrett in some ways, and some beautiful atmospheric guitar work on songs like Radioactive Toy and The Nostalgia Factory. The lyrics are very Floydian like (before Waters went off on a tirade). Wilson apparently comes from the Gilmour school of guitar playing as Gilmour's influences are quite pronounced (Barrett also showing as an influence). Many have stated that Porcupine Tree's music of the 1990s is what Pink Floyd should have really been doing. Quite a compliment and I'm in perfect agreement with it. But I wouldn't go as far as saying Porcupine Tree was a clone, because the atmospherics Wilson creates are quite unique and would be the hallmark of the band's sound for many years to come.

A superb debut. Maybe a bit too long, maybe needing a little more development, but overall a wonderful listen. Highly recommended to fans of psychedelic and spacey, ethereal music. Easily a four-star effort.
Report this review (#156143)
Posted Friday, December 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I picked up this album on a whim really. I was in a CD shop with only £10, and it was the only PT album for that price, so I went for it. The first thing I noticed about this album (owning only FOABP and In Absentia) was how incredibly different it was. The second thing I noticed was that despite this, it actually has some really good stuff on it. My favourite track on the album is The Nostalgia Factory, which starts delicately and builds up into a strong and surreal heavy prog rhythm. Another highlight is the 10 minute long (exactly) Radioactive Toy, which once again shows frontman Steve Wilson's musical prowess. The final track I would like to mention (partly for it's musical quality and partly for it's humour) is Linton Samuel Dawson, which is in a word- crazy. The vocals are affected and high pitched and the lyrics are reminiscent of Beefheart or Zappa- I love it! All and all a pretty good album, but very different from their later stuff and inconsistent. 3 stars.
Report this review (#156289)
Posted Saturday, December 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "On The Sunday Of Life..." is the official debut full-length studio album by UK progressive rock act Porcupine Tree. The album was released through Delerium Records in May 1992. It was preceded by the two demo cassette tape albums "Tarquin's Seaweed Farm (1989)" and "The Nostalgia Factory (1991)" and the demo EP "The Love, Death & Mussolini (1990)". The material on "On The Sunday Of Life..." are culled either directly from those three releases, or are re-arranged, re-recorded, or otherwise edited (and even re-titled) versions of tracks from the three demo releases.

So if you´re familiar with the preceding demo releases, it won´t come as a surprise that "On The Sunday Of Life..." isn´t the most stylistically coherent release as Steven Wilson experimented greatly with both musical elements and production techniques in those years, and therefore you´ll be exposed to anything from droning ambient soundscapes, to driving psychadelic rock tracks and long jams, to spoken word sections, to samples, to comedy rock tracks featuring pitched helium mouse vocals, and all sorts of other musical elements. I guess it all falls under the psychadelic rock umbrella, but "On The Sunday Of Life..." is an album that´ll challenge most listeners not accustomed to very eclectic album releases or those preferring a body of recorded work in a coherrent style.

Wilson has tweaked the original recordings, made overdubs and remixes, and it´s audible that the sound quality is of a slightly higher quality on the album than the case were on the three demo recordings where the tracks are pulled from. The quality of the material is a bit up and down, but some of the highlights are "Jupiter Island", "The Nostalgia Factory", "Footprints", and "Radioactive Toy". Upon conclusion "On The Sunday Of Life..." isn´t the strongest nor the most promising debut album by Porcupine Tree, and it´s hard to know what to expect from the band on their next release (if we didn´t have the advantage of hindsight). In that respect it´s probably an album which left contemporary listeners a little confused. To me it has been a grower. I started out not appreciating the album much, but repeated spins have revealed at least a handful of good quality tracks and at least as many decent quality ones, and I´d say a 3 star (60%) rating isn´t all wrong.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Report this review (#156362)
Posted Sunday, December 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
The Crow
2 stars The beginning of this Steve Wilson's project called Porcupine Tree was a compilation of different ideas, songs and demos from the late 80's and beginning 90's under the name On the Sunday of Life... And it's a really irregular compilation.

This could be a good album, but the amount of silly and tasteless tracks included on it spoil part of the work... Some great tracks like Radioactive Toy and The Nostalgia Factory, they lose part of their bright when we hear them together with nonesenses like Linton Samuel Davison, Third Eye Surfer, No Luck With Rabbits... Ok, I love the psichodelic touch that Steve Wilson gives to every Porcupine Tree's release, but in this album this psichodelic elements are not really good used, and sometimes the lack of quality on them make this album a little dull to listen to... There's is too much rubbish here, in my humble opinion.

Excellent Songs: The Nostaliga Factory, Radioactive Toy and The Long Silence.

Good Songs: Jupiter Island, Nine Cats, and It will rain for a Million Years.

Listenable Songs: Footprints, And the Swallows dance above the Sun, Queen Quotes Crowley and Begonia Seduction Scene.

The rest is easily forgettable...

Conclusion: I think that only 6 really good tracks between 18 are not enough... But I have to say some tracks like Radioactive Toy and The Long Silence are great, and they give a good idea about the music that Steve Wilson would make along the years with Porcupine Tree. So this album is interesting for Porcupine Tree's fans. The rest will not find an special interesting album here... Although I think some tracks of this album are a must for progressive rock with psichodelic influences's lovers.

My rating: **1/2

Report this review (#157625)
Posted Friday, January 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A space transmission indeed.

Not for the feint of heart, or the core progger, Porcupine Tree's [PT] ''Debut'' is definately a strange one. I say ''Debut'', because this is really a compilation of material from PT's previous eps that are now only something of legend. It's also good to note that at this point the band was nothing more than Mr. Wilson doing some experimenting on the side of his other bands , thus, he's really the only one on the album, with a few guests of course. None the less, while strange this is definately a good album that demands listening to from people who want to now where this band started.

The roots go deep, and only some of the material on here is even remotely like what PT would later become. Quirky songs like JUPITER ISLAND, THE NOSTALGIA FACTORY and LINTON SAMUEL DAWSON will make the prog-goers cock their heads in bewilderment, while other may simply bounce with delight over the strangitude of the heightened vocals and quirky music. This is obviously not the direction PT chose to go, and people who listen to them in this era of their life will simply be astounded that evil frontman Steve actually has a sense of humor.

Structurally this album is odd as well. Eighteen songs, only a few reaching the 5 minute mark, definately not something the PT fan is used to. Some of the songs are pure throwaways, intro-outros to other songs, while some are simply bizarre and incredibly creepy in the case of something like SPACE TRANSMISSION. Ultimately, though, these short songs do add to the album and the style they were trying to achieve.

This album would be a fan-only recommendation if not for a couple true moments of brilliance. The song NINE CATS has a very peculiar charm to it, it's very pretty while still in the style of PT. IT WILL RAIN FOR A MILLION YEARS is a sign of things to come, the 10+ minute song definately hints in the direction of prog for the band and sounds like something out of their Up The Downstair years. It's RADIOACTIVE TOY, however, that steals the show. Creepy, long, well constructed and well composed, RADIOACTIVE TOY is one of PT's finest moments even to this day. Certainly the direction the band chose to take after the first album and likely the precursor to their Deadwing era with it's dark lyrics and music. Steven Wilson proves his talent on this single track and luckily manages to carry out it's promise to this day.

So everything aside, what does the album get?

3 stars, good, but not essential. While tracks such as the spectacular RADIOACTIVE TOY are a must, there is far too much material on this album that may not appeal to the non-PT-fan. Even fans of PT's current work should be warned, as this is a whole 'nother beast. Great album, if quite an aquired taste.

Report this review (#161796)
Posted Friday, February 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars I only picked up on Porcupine Tree two years ago or so, starting with "In Absentia" and "Under the Downstair". I was so impressed that in the intervening period I have subsequently bought all of the remaining studio albums. This is the most disappointing offering from the band, in my opinion, perhaps understandably so as it is the first album and is really a spruced-up collection of Steve Wilson's home recordings.

As such, it is an interesting album to have from the point of view of charting Steve Wilson's and the band's development but, from the absolute standpoint of a stand-alone album, it doesn't compare in terms of quality to subsequent offerings. It's not that it's bad, but it does lack the pace, energy and innovation of subsequent recordings, measured against which it feels insipid.

For completes fans only.

Report this review (#162199)
Posted Tuesday, February 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Porcupine Tree - 'On the Sunday of Life.' 3 stars

Well now, time to get around to Porcupine Tree's stuff. Porcupine Tree is my favorite modern band. There is just so much to their evolution. They are always combining new elements and ideas to give each new album a fresh display of power. This band is more of a project of Steven Wilson alone, backed with some great musicians. This album, and for a few to come, only have him as not only the composer, but the performer with all the instrumentation (except for drums mainly).

'On the Sunday of Life' is more of a compilation then an album. The songs are taken from two cassette releases: 'Tarquin's Seaweed Farm' and 'The Nostalgia Factory' in the years 1989 and 1991 respectively. Regardless, this is an important album for Porcupine Tree. This album branches out all of the possibilities that the band could have taken the road down. The song that can somewhat be a reference is 'Radioactive Toy', and there is none other even close to that on the album!

I'm not much of a fan of Psychedelic music (yet!), but I can certainly say this is not a bad CD by any means. It has the humorous lyrics and the spacey atmosphere, a trademark of the genre, I guess.

The main instrument focus is on the guitar and keyboards. In my opinion, the guitar was quite outdone by the keyboard work. To me, there seemed to be a greater amount of maturity and focus on a 'trippy' feel with the keyboards. Also, there are quite a few decent chops thrown in here and there. The guitar work was by no means negative, but there is a really big presence of Gilmour in Wilson's guitar playing. It was only notable in the solos, which were pretty impressive, especially on the best song on the album 'Radioactive Toy'. The drums were created by a machine and were extremely annoying, just constant unfulfilling beats.

The album contains some decent psyche material, enough to call this a good album, nothing more or less. If one checks this material out without expecting the same amount of grace you will receive from future PT releases, it's once again, a good album.

Report this review (#163350)
Posted Friday, March 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Yeah, three is about right. Maybe a bit less, but the whole rounding thing, you know? It's got its moments, it's got its fun, but it's just a bit too disjointed to really pull through as an album. Most of the tracks can't stand well on their own, and kind of need the album surrounding them to sound like much. Unfortunately, it isn't quite cohesive enough to really save these songs. Tracks like Jupiter Island and Linton Samuel Dawson are pretty awesomely weird, though. If you really enjoy Porcupine Tree, and can bebop to Up the Downstair or The Sky Moves Sideways, I bet you'll like this one well enough. However, if you don't like really, really strange music, or if you want some more structured music and less aimless sound-meanderings, be careful with this release.

It's fun, but nothing remotely essential.

Report this review (#168633)
Posted Thursday, April 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Porcupine Tree is definitely one of the greatest band from rock history, all their albums are great, more or less experimental, more or less conventional... its a great music to listen.

This o album is the first official album from a long list and is a more experimental/psychedelic orientated. Steve Wilson guitar sound is great but his vocal performance are a little lower than other albums. For exemple on Linton Samuel Dawson who is quite hilarious with a disco sound and a robotic voice... not quite on my taste but i apreciate the experiment. Anyway the robotic voice sound really stupid and annoying, but happily the song have only 3 minute. Also the drum sound is not very great...

But moaste important is what will follow to this album, some of the most greatest progressive rock orientated album!

Report this review (#182701)
Posted Wednesday, September 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Here is the point where one of the biggest trips in the world of progressive and psychedelic rock begins! The first album by then - totally amateur project by hobby musician - Steven Wilson (according to him this is great old fictional progressive rock band from the 70s). In fact it's very good album for man who make it just for fun. Definitely, it's the most psychedelic album by Porcupine Tree. On the Sunday of Life..... is much more psychedelic, than progressive and it's the sole album in this way.

The sound is too much programmed! Some of the instruments have an artificial sound, because of the way they were made. It wasn't real instrument in most of the cases, nut just a software programme. For the qualities of that kind of synthesizers at the beginning of the 90s, it result is pretty good with this album. The artificial sound is easy discernible in bass guitar and drums of the album or the whole rhythm section of the music as well as the keyboards. I feel the only real music here are the vocals (made by the mouth of Steven Wilson) and guitars (made by his own hands hands with guitar). But all these thoughts aren't obstacle for me to like this album very much. Its songwriting is really charming. Although, the sound is not compact, because of all these programmes, the song are very fresh and pure samples of classic qualified psychedelic rock.

Other negative moment in the album are the repetitions. Sometimes they are not so inappropriate things, but when it comes to so long album, they are definitely inappropriate. Pink Floyd's influence begin up from this album and continues all around Porcupine Tree's history. Very much people connect Porcupine Tree with Pink Floyd and I confess that, too! Some of Porcupine Tree's albums become sacrifices, because of this similarity; but not this one. It's original, not plagiarism. The negative moments I explained earlier just prevent On the Sunday of Life..... to be psychedelic masterpiece, but not to be Excellent addition to any psychedelic music collection! Surely above the edge... 3.75 stars!!!

Inexhaustible source of psychedelic music. Great debut for Porcupine Tree. The best songs here are Jupiter Island, The Nostalgia Factory, Radioactive Toy, Footprints, This Long Silence, but there're not weak parts on the album at all!

Highly recommended for psychedelic fans!

Quite recommended for guitar solo and melodic fans!

Recommended for all progressive music fans!

Report this review (#197177)
Posted Sunday, January 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
2 stars 'On The Sunday Of Life...' - Porcupine Tree (4/10)

Let me begin this review by saying Porcupine Tree is one of my favourite bands of all time, and I am firm in my opinion that Steven Wilson is one of the most musically innovative and talented guys out there in music. His warm, emotive sensibilities in music have touched me beyond much I've ever heard in my musical journey. Keeping this in mind (and having delved deep into masterpieces such as 'Deadwing,' 'Fear Of A Blank Planet' and 'Lightbulb Sun') my expectations for the band's (or should I say; Steven Wilson's) debut work was pretty high.

Although I obviously wasn't expecting something as well-directed as one of their modern works, I still find myself rather dissapointed by the overall package that is 'On The Sunday Of Life.' There are parts here that are interesting and fun to listen to, but overall, it has very few of the qualities that made me fall in love with Porcupine Tree in the first place.

For the first thing, it has very little cohesion as a whole. This may be a result of -however- that 'On The Sunday Of Life' isn't a regular debut album per se, but rather a compilation of their earliest demos; a best-of collection of their early material to make a super-album of sorts. There is certainly quite a bit of material on here, and it's quite uncommon for an artist to have their debut album function as a double album. But while the prospect of having two CDs worth of PT material to dig into is appetizing, nontheless the material simply doesn't work together too well.

This is the sort of album where there's alot of track skipping involved. However, keeping this in mind, there are songs on here I do quite like. The best two songs on here are also the two longest tracks; the classic 'Radioactive Toy' and the ambient closer 'It Will Rain For A Million Years.' Other songs that stood out were 'Nine Cats' (a pleasing acoustic song) and the maddeningly catchy 'Jupiter Island,' which although not being the greatest musically, is contagious in it's fun and whimsical nature. It sorta sounds like a marriage of hippy flower-power and a soundtrack to a cheap 80's science fiction program.

'On The Sunday Of Life' was dissapointing, but I think that in it's context, it's an important step for the band. Many fans of the band will find this distasteful, but it does have it's good side. As a whole however, I was rather dissapointed.

Report this review (#225166)
Posted Wednesday, July 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars 8/10

"On The Sunday Of Life..." is a box full of toys, an album full of surprises.

I can't believe how underrated this album is. Seems like nobody understood what On The Sunday Of Life is; it's not a naive and immature album like many debut albums, quite the contrary, it is so profound that it scares me.

Now all the snob critics might think that I'm naive, and perhaps they're right. But I'll never stop loving this album, it is amazing from start to finish, a hymn to the most sincere psychedelic music. But not only that: On the Sunday Of life is a near perfect succession of strange short songs, all instrumental, and long melodic, creepy, nostalgic songs that always have given me feelings that rarely I've found with the listening of an album.

OTSOL is also an unbelivable journey through the genius and kind of childish mind of Steven Wilson; at the time, in fact Porcupine Tree was a one man band, and the other musicians were simply considered guests. and finally, OTSOL is a box full of toys, an album full of surprises and unusual music, so incredibly original and beautiful that rarely today you can find something like that, and Steven Wilson after this was never able to make music like this, even though PT's discography is full of masterpieces, and some are even better, but none of them are so weird yet so intelligent, other than beautiful. An absolute masterpiece, essential to anyone who loves psychedelic rock, and not only.

Report this review (#252299)
Posted Monday, November 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars On The Sunday of Life isn't so much a studio album as it is a compilation of tracks previously released under the then pseudonym Porcupine Tree. A good chunk of the songs on this album are complete throwaways, with a couple of exceptions. Tracks like "Jupiter Island" and "Linton Samuel Dawson" are worth checking out as long as you don't take them too seriously. Then you have "Radioactive Toy", a song which sounds more like what the future Porcupine Tree would come to be, and is one of the very few memorable tracks on the entire album.

I wholly believe this album fits the two-star rating description of "Collectors/fans only" to a tee. If you're a fan of Porcupine Tree, it's certainly worth checking out for a bit of amusement or curiosity of the origins of the band, but beyond that it's an easy album to ignore.

Report this review (#253015)
Posted Thursday, November 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars On the Sunday of Life is a somewhat clumsy but entirely charming debut. It contains a myriad of styles of which Radioactive Toy has served as a template for many future Porcupine Tree compositions in the years following this release. I don't listen to it regularly but when I do it's sure to bring multiple smiles to my face.

A few picks.

Music for The Head is so typical for Wilson, eclectic as he is, he usually doesn't create anything that hasn't been done before but his excellent judgement and ear for recognizing a good tune frequently make him surpass his examples. Music for the Head breathes early Tangerine Dream through all its pores and easily equals the best moments from Alpha Centauri. The album has a number of attractive psychedelic tracks. Sometimes the recording is a bit primitive and the high-pitched tune and vocal effects will not please everyone, but the song writing qualities can not be denied. Jupiter Island, The Nostalgia Factory, Nine Cats and especially And The Swallows Dance are fine examples of that style. Footprints and Linton Samuel Dawson remain below that level.

Radioactive Toy is the highlight and the most widely appreciated moment of this album. Didn't anyone point out yet how much this is inspired by the kraut scene again. The slowly grooving pace and bass line are an obvious nod to Weissensee from the first Neu! album. Not the first time Wilson would nick something from that kraut monument.

Many of the short instrumentals I didn't mention will mostly please kraut fans, some of them may be a bit indulgent but after all, at this stage Porcupine Tree was still meant as a joke-project next to Wilson's main band No-man. Eventually things turned out the other way and Porcupine Tree became the most successful project. 3.5 stars

Report this review (#260108)
Posted Saturday, January 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
1 stars On the silliness of life...

Let me start out by offering my sincerest apologies to the die hard Porcupine Tree fans out there for writing this negative review. But the truth is that, while I love Porcupine Tree's other releases, I just cannot stand this one.

The music on this album is a mixture of 80s new wave music and 90s alternative rock. Now there's nothing wrong with this. In fact, combining the best of both worlds would be probably have an astonishing result which would be an instant hit worldwide. The problem is that "On the Sunday of Life..." takes the worst of both worlds and combine it into an utterly disastrous combination of the pretentious and arrogant elements of the new wave and alternative rock movements which manifests itself in an album which is generally just silly, and for some reasons it reminds me of Babylon Zoo's "Spaceman" song. Normally, I don't mind silliness and oddball humor, which I tend to find charming, but, somehow, the silliness of this album does not catch on with me at all and just comes across as pretentious and arrogant (maybe I come across that way, too, in this review, for which I then apologize).

That being said the album does have its moments such as the seemingly improv instrumentals "Music for the Head", "Third Eye Surfer", "Begonia Seduction Scene", and "On the Sunday of Life". The introduction to "The Nostalgia Factory" is also interesting, and, while the verses are horrible, it does contain a number of redeeming instrumental sections. "Radioactive Toys" also has its moments and is actually not a half-bad song. Most other tracks are just silly as in the case of "Jupiter Island", "Linton Samuel Lawson", "And The Swallows Dance Above", and to some extent "This Long Silence" although there is something about it that makes it stand out as worth listening to. The best track is without doubt the mostly instrumental "It Will Rain For A Million Years".

Who would I recommend this album to? I don't know. I assume that the instrumentals will appeal to a number of different people, because the instrumental tracks are actually quite good. I can imagine that little children will like a lot of the songs on the album although many of the annoying fillers on the album will probably be too creepy. I'd probably recommend to fans of progressive music that they (legally) download the instrumental tracks plus "It Will Rain for a Million Years" and perhaps "Radioactive Toys" and "This Long Silence" and ignore the rest of the tracks on the album.

Report this review (#273688)
Posted Tuesday, March 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Give me Radioactive Toy

On The Sunday Of Life... is listed as the first album by Porcupine Tree however it is merely the compilation of two cassettes, the first being Tarquin's Seaweed Farm and the second is The Nostalgia Factory. As Steven Wilson says this "really is the cream of the cassette material" and half the songs were written by Steven Wilson while he was still at school during the mid-80's.

The album has a mixture of different sorts of styles of music which led to the tag of Progressive Rock on the album and including Psychedelic and Space Rock as the majority of songs have that style and sense. That said Porcupine Tree was only a imaginary band created by Steven Wilson.

On to the songs from the remastered edition of the September 2004 digipack reissue:

1) Music For The Head - This is like a instrumental intro to an album

2) Jupiter Island - The first song with lyrics and an apparent drum machine, the sound is not the direction that Porcupine Tree would take once it became a band. This is a song that took me a few listens to the album before it agreed with me.

3) Third Eye Surfer - This is an instrumental song with the drums section taken from the drum solo of track 5 from 13 (for Phil Seamen with love & thanks) from Soft Machine's album Six. On the album the drums are credited to John Marshall.

4) On The Sunday Of Life... - This is the same explanation from Third Eye Surfer apart from the drums being credited to John Marshall on the album but together the two tracks form a nice relaxed section to the album.

5) The Nostalgia Factory - This is the second song of the album to include lyrics and i love the intro to this before the lyrics.

6) Space Transmission - This is an unsual monologue and seems to draw you into listening carefully. Because of its strangeness i seem to enjoy it and i believe it is used excellently to pause the music if only to give some mystery about the album.

7) Message From A Self Destructing Turnip - Again this leads on from Space Transmission and sits perfectly after the previous song if you can call it that. I also do love crazy song titles such as this which always brings me a smile.

8) Radioactive Toy - I guess you can say this is the star piece of the album and is the clear indication of the direction that the band would take. That said it also became a encore classic for the band and became popular enough for the band Riverside to play a cover version at a gig in Sjiwa, Baarlo in Holland in 2005.

9) Nine Cats - This song was originally played by a school band circa 1983-85 called Karma. I should also mention that nearly all of the lyrics for the songs on this album came from a friend of Steven Wilson called Alan Duffy who Steven had lost touch with by the time this album was released. This is a very chilled song and later made a reprise in the form of an acoustic version on the Signify album.

10) Hymn - This is more of a soundscape interlude between songs.

11) Footprints - This is another song with lyrics which seem to tell a story with psychedelic lyrics during the chorus.

12) Linton Samuel Dawson - This song has the same style as Jupiter Island. This was written by Steven Wilson while he was at school along with Jupiter Island and Footprints.

13) And The Swallows Dance Above The Sun - This is a song that uses sampling to great effect and will get continuly used by Porcupine Tree in later albums.

14) Queen Quotes Crowley - The song starts of with lyrics of gibberish which took me a few listens to realise that it is the title of the song backwards. Oh how the penny dropped when i realised! Brilliant.

15) No Luck With Rabbits - Again this is more of a soundscape between songs.

16) Begonia Seduction Scene - This is a lovely instrumental that really relaxes you.

17) This Long Silence - A song that follows the same style as Jupiter Island and Linton Samuel Dawson.

18) It Will Rain For A Million Years - This is a song that passes the time for me in that you can just dream away with it and before you know that 10 minute song has vanished.

There we have it, all songs listed and accounted for however i tend to listen to music in albums and not songs which is why i don't give mass information on how good each song is or how it is played or compared with others, i listen and judge whether it will be an album i will come back again and again to listen to for which this is one of those albums that i thought i wouldnt until i realised i was. Being that this was the first album from Porcupine Tree it was not the first album i heard of theirs. For me Porcupine Tree began with Up The Downstair and i found myself drawn into their music and i started to go through each album. This was an unusual album to listen to and i found that it did take quite a few listens to before i truly loved it but it is not a masterpiece.

An above average debut album from a band that didnt exist which would go onto to greater heights.

Report this review (#287894)
Posted Tuesday, June 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A trippy, eccentric beginning

The first Porcupine Tree album is really a Steve Wilson solo project though there were some guest musicians and a lyrics collaborator. Today's PT fan should approach it with some understanding of the circumstances surrounding it. The CD is a compilation of early works originally released on cassette tapes, recorded by the young Wilson in the 80s before the proper band existed. It has a rather scattered feel as Wilson is all over the map trying everything he can think of, indulging himself. It feels a bit like a less developed, more primitive psychedelic version of Signify. And yet if you go into it with an open mind and not expecting to hear Deadwing, you may find it really grows on you.

Many people bring up "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" but this is misleading in my view. Wilson may have been a fan of Piper but this is purely homage if anything, it isn't close to Piper in terms of authenticity, consistency, or groundbreaking nature. By the late 80s this was all old hat. A much more relevant comparison for this album would be the Dukes Of Stratosphear project by the members of XTC. The Dukes album "Chips from the Chocolate Fireball" is a very similar styled project, also a compilation, which attempted to bring the classic 1960s LSD-pop album into the 80s and pay tribute.

"Sunday" musically is the definition of "hit and miss" and while the tracks don't sound all that related, there is probably more good stuff here than bad. At the least it is interesting to hear the infancy of an artist of Wilson's caliber. There are short, quirky pop tunes with annoying choruses as Wilson tortures you with a helium-toked smurf voice. There are some better rock songs like "Radioactive Toy" which actually sound like PT of a few years later. And there are some nice instrumental pieces which are dreamy, spacey, and mellow, with a nice assortment of electric and acoustic guitar performances by Wilson. Throughout the songs are dressed with lots of strange, trippy noises and sound effects to give them extra vibe. Here and there you will find some really compelling passages, and in other places you are likely to wince and hit the "skip" button.

The 2007 reissued CD features very decent sound quality and a nice booklet. I do recommend this odd little album to fans of psych-pop and PT. While it is not likely to be your favorite PT album, after a while you might find it in the middle of your list as opposed to bringing up the bottom.

Report this review (#299790)
Posted Sunday, September 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album is very difficult to swallow, even for a fan of the band. This album is far FAR different than the Porcupine Tree of today. This album has a Pink Floyd feel, but more of a Syd Barret Pink Floyd feel than a Dark Side of the Moon Pink Floyd feel. The lyrics are very abstract and instrumentals pepper the album. The album features a very traditional psychedelic feel. Many of the lyrics were written by a friend of Steven named Alan Duffy, who he lost contact with soon after. Many of these songs were off two cassette tapes called the Nostalgia Factory and Tarquin's Seaweed Farm. He took the best songs of the tapes to form this album. The most recognizable song to some will be Radioactive Toy, which is still played live to this day. It is probably the only song that is similar to PT nowadays. Other than that, it is up to the individual listener to decide the best songs. Personally for me, the highlights are Jupiter Island, Third Eye Surfer, The Nostalgia Factory, Radioactive Toy, and Nine Cats.

Due to the strangeness of this album, I recommend waiting until one is more experienced with this group. But it is a treat to those who have patience with this album.

Report this review (#376918)
Posted Sunday, January 9, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars

That 'Message of A Self Destructing Turnip' may well have been: 'This Is The Start of Something Beautiful'

Somewhere around the 1990's there was this 'buzz' going on around in the underground psychedelic/space rock scene in the UK about an obscure 1960-1970's band, full of Syd Barrett-influences, of which two tapes had finally been recovered (rescued?) from oblivion - "Tarquin's Seaweed Farm" and "The Nostalgia Factory". The name of that illusive 'band'? Porcupine Tree.

Of course the entire story was total BUNK, made up by the creator of the tapes, a shy young computer engineer spending his entire spare time putting together 'soundscapes' in his own basement using a various bunch of keyboards, computers, tape-loops, guitars, and his own (at times distorted) voice, recorded on rather crappy track tape-machinery. Mr. Steven Wilson, a self-declared loather of any 'commercialism' and 'selling' of the art of music, hilariously managed to come up with one of the most successful Marketing Stories ever, as the tapes immediately landed him a contract with Delirium Records, as well as exposure by BBC Radio. The Remainder of the Story is History, so to say.

"On The Sunday of Life" is, most of all, the first genuine solo-effort by Wilson (I can't help but smile at his claiming that his 2009-release "Insurgentes" was his first), aided by a couple of fellows (to which he, in a very tongue-in-cheeky-British way, refers as "not entirely blameless" on the credits listing), most important of them being lyricist Alan Duffy, who's responsible for the vast majority of the spacey, at times making-no-sense-at-all, but nevertheless very enjoyable song texts.

So, what do we get, here. In short, a youthful kaleidoscope collection of all the kind of styles that young Mr. Wilson had been experimenting with - and still does, up to the date of today in his various outfits - musically, emphasizing on space/psychedelics in the verge of, for instance, bands like Steve Hillage's Gong or Ozric Tentacles, among with quite a lot of stuff which you will either love or hate - call it 'campy silliness'.

Perfect examples of the latter category are "Jupiter Island" and "Linton Samuel Dawson", which combine LSD-inspired, Barrett-esque vocals (Wilson-on-Helium?) on relatively short songs with an upbeat, trippy dance rhythm supplied by a drum computer. I kid you not - you can even DANCE to these songs (and personally I don't mind that at all). There's also the lovely, gentle, basically acoustic guitar-based ballad "Nine Cats" which I think is just awesome, a highlight on this album, along with the equally lovely 'epic' "The Nostalgia Factory". Should any person have ever doubted Wilson's very fine nose for beautiful melodies, these songs should really get him/her cured from that opinion instantly.

Fortunately, however, this debut also shows vast initial signs of the style where PT would end up with some 25 years later - in total: dark, scary, gothic-like BEAUTY.

"Space Transmission" forms the introduction of this sequence of songs - a dark, ambient track with Wilson narrating the story of an entity stuck on some faraway planet "..ever since the Sun exploded 14 centuries ago.." but of course, "I'll seek my revenge!" Space-is-indeed-Deep on that one, which even reminds me of certain parts of Rush's "Hemispheres" in texture and sounds. After the following "Message of A Self Destructing Turnip", a very short (5 seconds, to be exact) ambient intermission piece with some extensive drumming, we finally get to hear the absolute highlight of this album - the majestic PT-classic "Radioactive Toy".

"..Give me the freedom to destroy, give me Radioactive Toy.." is haunting, mesmerizing, and right-out creepy - but friggin' beautiful. The subdued vocal performance by Wilson (you can actually feel both the first persona's cold-hearted radicalism, as well as this desperation, in his delivery of the text - at least I do so!), along with the psychedelic, trippy intermissions, combined with Wilson's outbursts on the guitar (that wah wah -pedal!), make this song into a genuine masterpiece. Yeah, let's indeed Leave Planet Earth Before It Gets Recycled, as Wilson would proclaim some 20 years later on. BTW, further considering the 'darkness' that these songs emanate, I think it's no coincidence that Mr. Wilson's texts on these songs are indeed his own, in stead of Duffy's.

"Radioactive Toy" has stood up to the test of time amazingly well, quite incredible that this fantastic song was in fact composed by a mere 15-year-old. WOT-THE-HELL. I try to avoid labeling any musician as a 'genius' as much as I can, just to avoid the Fanboy-Tag, but Mr. Wilson comes pretty close to it, I daresay nonetheless.

The follow-up "Footprints" brings us back to Alan Duffy's erratic dopey lyricism, but fortunately, also to another hint towards Future PT - Wilson's fantastic ability to combine very soft, diminutive, acoustic sequences with massive, heavy outbursts, reflected in his ecstatic manner of singing, combined a bucket of echoing keyboards. "And The Swallows Dance Above The Sun" is another semi-dark epic based on a straightforward, trippy, simple computer rhythm. "This Long Silence" comes in the same atmosphere, pretty nice work on the bass guitar by Wilson here, even if it's a simple sequence - me likes it. "It Will Rain For A Million Years" is quite worth your time listening to it too, another spacey track with a lot of ambient sequences, but OH WOW - Space-Continues-To-Be-DEEP here, with young Mr. Wilson emulating one Mr. D. Gilmour on the guitar, and not too shabby either, in doing so. I rather like the bass line of this track too. Very muddy, strongly present in the mix, and since I am a Bass Guitar-kind of person, I'm not complaining about that at all.

As for the production work on this re-issue - mine's the 2004 Snapper edition - I can't say else than that it's pretty good, as is always the case with any product of Mr. Wilson's. As I myself became a Resident of Planet Porcupine Tree somewhere around 1997 or such, I have no idea how much it actually benefited from remastering from the original tapes, as unfortunately, I don't own them so I can't compare.

To conclude this way-too-long review (sorry about that, folks!): this is a true 'Love-It-Or- Hate-It'-album, and it's kind of obvious in which category I belong myself. The campy, silly, spacey stuff exposed on this album might well piss off some of the more closed-minded kind of fans, but I'd really like to invite all of the latter day PT-fans to at least give it a try to explore some of Mr. Wilson's early signs of his genius. "Radioactive Toy", especially, is a song no proper PT-fan can afford him/herself to miss out on.

How I'd wish PT to one day perform silly stuff like "Jupiter Island" live again, if only to witness the stunned faces of that part of the crowd that only got to know Mr. Wilson & His Arboretic Porc after "Fear of A Blank Planet". I might well end up Dying Laughing, but that's part of the risk! :-)

My personal verdict: 4 stars, as I can't help but love both the 'serious' stuff on this album, as well as the trippy, campy material. The verdict for latter-day PT-fans with a more Heavy Metal-inclined taste, and who aren't all too keen on Space Rock: 3 stars. Make it 3- and-a-half, then!

Report this review (#408138)
Posted Friday, February 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars The debut album from this soon to become one of the saviours of the prog rock scene this side of the millenium. Not to mention the status Steven Wilson, the leader of this band. The saviour of progressive rock ? Perhaps, yes.

Porcupine Tree started out as a mix of British indie and space rock. There is a lot of Hawkwind lurking around here and some typical British indie. The emphasis is on space rock though. The material here is OK. The album is far too long. OK, I now see this is a compilation of two cassette albums named "Tarquin's Seaweed Farm" (1989) and "The Nostalgia Factory" (1990). That is very indie. So is the guitars, bass and drums too. Steven Wilson's vocals is also very much down the indie path. The addition of the keyboards and samples drags this album into space rock territory though. There is a lot of Hawkwind pastisjes here.

The music is not bad at all. But seventy-five minutes really kills my interest. If released as two albums, I may have been interested because this music is best enjoyed in smaller dosages because it is bereft of any great melodies or even great songs. But my interest vane of after forty five minutes and it never re-kindles. Hence my verdict. This album is for the fans and the fans only. I am not one of them. Not yet.

2 stars

Report this review (#559687)
Posted Sunday, October 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars 1/10

This album is miles away from the powerful sound that this band will come in to provide. In fact I would call it a proto-Porcupine Tree.

On the Sunday of Life is for Porcupine Tree what When Dream and Day Unite is for Dream Theater - a black sheep, a special case. But I like When Dream ... . The same can not be said of the album here. This is actually one of two albums of the era in which the PT was only one of various projects of Steven Wilson, far from the band's highly acclaimed and loved it is today. He is the main man here, except for a few guests (John Marshall on drums in Third Eye Surfer, Jemaine Solomon St. on guitar and voice at Queen Quotes Crowley and Master Timothy Masters in oboe) Wilson does everything else - voice, guitar, keyboards and electronic programming. I've ever seen some albuns made ​​by a single musician, and this is the typical case of an experiment gone wrong.

It is almost impossible to describe the music of this album, though Porcupine Tree is a band hard to classify (I prefer to name them as an alternative metal/ psychedelic / progressive band). Some have named the band as Pink Floyd for 90´s, but judging by this album I do not share this view. Yes, there are very psychedelic and spacey moments here and there, but most of the album wanders between experimental and electronic - as an exception we have Wilson's guitar that really gives us a clue to what the group would become. But as I said, are only moments.

It's sad to see what this album is. but it is reassuring to see that the band would keep pace with their next release (which I will come to review) and do justice to the reputation they have today. But looking at this fight bad you can not expect much.

Report this review (#587180)
Posted Monday, December 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a good album, however it falls down in a few areas, so it would be unfair to give a 5 star rating

The biggest problem here is probably the inconsistency ? the album swings wildly from the sublime (Radioactive toy, It will rain for a million years), to the ridiculous (Linton Samuel Dawson). There are a number of good songs on here Nostalgia Factory, Nine cats, Footprints, Swallows Dance Above the Sun to name a few. I never really 'got' traks like Linton Samuel Dawson though ? even though they received so much adoration from the early fans, although having seen PT live a few times in the early 90's Steven Wilson always refused to play this song despite pleas from the audience. The high pitched vocal sounds great however on The Nostalgia Factory ? a rather poppy, but still great track which is beatifully built up to by the preceding tracks.

These build ups and soundscapes are one of the albums strengths ? while the production may be criticised in some reviews the sounds are skillfully created and blended and make for some moments of brilliance. Unfortunately the sound of the drum machine sometimes lets the overall sound down ? in some songs it just doesn't cut it ? I just wish they would remaster this album and add real drums as they did with Up the Downstair.

One of the strengths of PT is their use of dynamics; Radioactive toy and Footprints being good examples, introducing themselves quietly then suddenly blowing you away, then continuing to come and go.

Radioactive toy is one of my, and many PT fans favourites - Its radio voice vocal interspersed with the killer riff refrain, finally giving way to a breakdown and slowly building solo to end. I feel however that It Will Rain For A Million Years is a hugely underrated track. The alternate guitar and shakuhachi (lead synth) lines over the atmospheric synth string backgound create a fantastic hook.

Overall this is a worthwhile album to own. It's quite padded out with experimental tracks and extended fade outs, but if you can cope with these you'll be rewarded with some great songs.

Report this review (#587614)
Posted Wednesday, December 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Porcupine Tree's musical evolution over the years has taken them through a range of different sounds and styles, and few releases show this more clearly than their debut album. On the Sunday of Life is a compilation of the best tracks from the preceding self-published cassette releases, with the songs being given a loving remaster and some reworkings here and there.

At this point in time, Porcupine Tree was essentially a Steven Wilson solo project with a few guest appearances from friends here and there, and the sound Wilson was pursuing sat right on the borderline between the naive whimsicality of psychedelia and the soaring, proggy dreamscapes of space rock; overall, I'd put the album on the space rock side of the line, but only just.

If you're coming to the album after experiencing the band's later work, then most of it will seem completely bizarre - aside from the epic Radioactive Toy, which pointed the way to the direction the band would pursue in future - but approach it with an open mind and a receptiveness to psychedelic silliness and you'll find it a confident and capable update of the style.

Report this review (#603068)
Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Review 450 of this album....

Porcupine Tree's debut "On The Sunday Of Life?" is a strange oddity compiled from two prior cassette releases "Tarquin's Seaweed Farm" (1989) and "The Nostalgia Factory" (1990). Nobody cared about the band back then but it is nice to revisit the past after hearing how brilliant this band became. If you are lookin for the masterpiece material of "In Absentia", "Deadwing", or "Fear of a Blank Planet" you beter look elsewhere as you are not going to find it here. This music on the debut is psychedelic and spacey beyond belief. It is raher astonishing as to where the band came from. They were deep into Hawkwind sounds merged with psychedelica.

Songs such as space rocker 'Jupiter Island' are as far removed from recent Porcupine Tree as one can imagine. It even features spacey Hawkwind guitar lead, and a chugging hypno rhythm. The vocals are a real surprise, Wilson's soft gentle touches are absent as he focuses on psychedelic tones, and a freak out coda with sonic space sounds is the climax.

The psychedelic tracks are akin to early Pink Floyd or 13th Floor Elevators or The Sonics. 'Third Eye Surfer' and 'On the Sunday of Life' exude experimental druggy atmospheres, sounding like Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. Most of the tracks are similar, very psychedelic and trippy, but there are some genuine highlights to mention. 'The Nostalgia Factory' has a nice keyboard motif driving it and at last some actual tempos, sounding like a song, with a great wah-wah lead guitar.

The next great moment you can skip to is 'Radioactive Toy', a classic live song for the band and it is a definitive highlight on this hodge podge album. I love the infectious tine and the killer lead work at the end is incredible. I love the melody of 'Nine Cats' that follows and lifts the album up after a sea of mediocrity. Following this is 'Hymn', that should be renamed ho- hum, very bland tripped out noise, then 'Footprints' follows (no pun intended), with dreamy keys and acoustics, and some dull spoken poetry, returning to psychedelica.

Overall this is a curio for PT collectors only. Tread carefully as you travel back through time before Steven Wilson actually produced excellent albums.

Report this review (#847396)
Posted Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Porcupine Tree's first album is a quirky offering that will not appeal to everyone, but is still an album that does have some merit. Scattered throughout the 18 tracks are a few great songs, plenty of atmospheric pieces and some just plain oddities.

The stand out is the 10 minute epic "Radioactive Toy". Looking past the flat and lifeless percussion supplied by the drum machine, there's a window into many of the elements that made Steven Wilson a success further down the line - great composition, mood, and lead guitar. It's a track that can hold its head high among many of PTs greatest songs.

"It Will Rain For A Million Years" is another very good track. Beginning with some atmospherics and a haunting guitar, it coalesces into a simple but catchy song across almost 10 minutes.

I also enjoy the spoken word "Space Transmission" for sheer weirdness, as an alien voice relates a brief and ominous account of its existence.

Although not a patch on later PT masterpieces, this is still worth a look for fans and for those looking for a bit of a fun, psychedelic experience.

Report this review (#962658)
Posted Monday, May 20, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars The colours of the album remind me of Katatonia's Discouraged Ones, and I love that album. On The Sunday Of Life is the debut from the hype Porcupine's Tree. Easy listening prog rock. Well, even being a guitarist, I really love the keyboards, and this is another album where keys save the game. Third Eye Surfer and Linton Samuel Dawson are probably the few good tracks from On The Sunday of Life. The rest is rest, sometimes enjoyable, but nothing more than fine. The experimentalism keep the album interesting, even with the boring parts. I wouldn't say "that's a bad album", but collectors only.
Report this review (#970631)
Posted Monday, June 3, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars Lucky for me I know some later Porcupine Tree albums as well... If this was the first album I listened to by the band, I might've given them a miss altogether. Lots of psychedelia in the opening tracks, very Barrett era Floyd sounding tracks. Not that I don't like Pink Floyd just that, this is Porcupine Tree!

You have to listen to almost half the tracks before coming to Radioactive Toy, which, everyone knows by now as a fine track! Indeed! More psychedelia in the form of Nine Cats. Footprints show some promise as does "And The Swallows Dance Above The Sun".

Reckon this debut release is definitely for Collectors only.

Report this review (#1089860)
Posted Saturday, December 14, 2013 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
4 stars Although this is the first official PORCUPINE TREE release it wasn't at all the beginning. Everyone knows that PORCUPINE TREE is really the talent of Steven Wilson dressed up as a band and that is not to dismiss the talent of the members who have contributed to this prolific band's wonderful sounds over the decades but the fact remains that Wilson is the conductor and main talent on board. This first album is really a compilation of the the material that he began created as a joke actually. The idea actually started all the way back in 1987 when Steven Wilson and Malcolm Stocks decided to make a fictional band that was influenced by psychedelic space rock music especially in the Pink Floyd arena. They went to great lengths to create a faux history and personas. Sounds to me like it was meant to be a Pink Floyd inspired Spinal Tap thing. Although intended to be a joke while focusing on his "real" band called No-Man, Steven released a couple of cassette only albums and they proved to catch the attention of the right people who decided that some of this material actually had a place in the market.

That brings us to the debut album ON THE SUNDAY OF LIFE. Although officially the first album, this is really a compilation of tracks off the cassette recordings that Wilson created on his then newly purchased recording equipment. The great thing about this album is as stated in the liner notes, namely that this album really represents all the possible avenues that Wilson could have gone down. Although there are clear moments of those that he did go down in the form of the psychedelic rock and crossover prog with beautifully melancholic melodies in a rock context, there are many tracks on this album that do not represent any of the later PORCUPINE TREE albums in the least. There are industrial rock tracks, new age ambient tracks and highly experimental ones that remind me more of the indie pop band Ween. It is clear from this debut album that Steven Wilson is a formidable talent who is more than capable of developing several branches of music. This is a remarkable album. I just love it. It was more than I ever could have expected coming to this after hearing most of the later albums. What we have here is a clear indicator that Steven Wilson was a hugely talented musician capable of greatness and in that regard he hasn't disappointed. Unfortunately the collective rating on this is unjust. This is eclectic to say the least but I enjoy every single track on this and contemplate all the possible avenues Steven Wilson could have taken. A very interesting album that displays Wilson at a stage before he had a fanbase and had to focus on that aspect of his music.

Report this review (#1224503)
Posted Saturday, July 26, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars Porcupine Tree didn't exist as an actual band when this first official album was released in 1992. So it makes sense that the effort was an ersatz affair, cobbled together from a pair of older audio- cassette recordings made by a precocious youngster named Steve Wilson, barely out of his teens at the time.

The fantasy 'band' would later come to vivid life as a legitimate group. But in the beginning Wilson imagined them as post-modern, psychedelic teeny-boppers, with fanciful stage names like Timothy Tadpole-Jones and Sir Tarquin Underspoon. The band's drummer, much like the nominal Echo of earlier Bunnymen fame, was a rhythm box known as The Expanding Flan.

The music itself is mostly atmospheric jams with ambient filler, anchored by several outright, airtight pop songs, many of them sporting odd, processed vocals making Wilson resemble Alvin the Chipmunk (in "The Nostalgia Factory"), or a pre-pubescent Geddy Lee (in "Linton Samuel Dawson", name-checking a non-existent light-show operator: Porcupine Tree's own imaginary Pete Sinfield). At least one song, the bouncy "Jupiter Island", sounds atypically not unlike a techno-pop Thomas Dolby hit. And the punchline is further telegraphed by titles recalling Monty Python ("No Luck With Rabbits") or The Mothers of Invention ("Message From a Self-Destructing Turnip").

Much of the album is hard to reconcile with the distinctive Heavy Prog of later PT releases, although a measure of foreshadowing can be heard in the fan favorite "Radioactive Toy", and the nearly eleven-minute "It Will Rain For a Million Years". The former in particular, with its convincing Dave Gilmour guitar mimicry, helped earn the fledgling band its now overused nickname of Porcupink Floyd.

Steve Wilson may have invented the fictitious group as a joke, but without real musicians he wouldn't be able to fashion anything like a stable musical identity until after the project took on a life of its own. There are times when he overplays his youthful enthusiasm, in the abundance of backward tape effects, random voice samples, and so on. And at 75-minutes the album might have been effectively condensed even further from its original sources. But for a homemade studio experiment it offers ample proof of Wilson's skill and confidence on either side of the microphone: as a producer and a performer.

Consider it as a collection of unpolished demo recordings...not for an upcoming album, but for an entire future band.

Report this review (#1290612)
Posted Monday, October 13, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars This was my first PORCUPINE TREE album, and I was blown away when it came out. But looking back now, it's obvious that Steve Wilson has come a LONG way since then.

In retrospect, I'd say this is overall a good album:a solid three stars. I never feel the need to skip any tracks, and I still play it reasonably often. The album is mostly very experimental, trippy and comparatively low-budget, but with TWO outstanding tracks..

1) Radioactive Toy 2) Nine Cats

The sound is obviously dated, but these standouts wouldn't be out of place in a modern day Steve Wilson concert. Having just come back from the gig in Seattle (Jun 2015) though, I suspect he'd rearrange them for extra heaviness, and turn the volume up to 11.!

Report this review (#1428345)
Posted Thursday, June 18, 2015 | Review Permalink
3 stars What Is it? The debut solo album of Steven Wilson (under the name of Porcupine Tree) is a compilation of tunes reaching back to his teenage years. A very diverse album with no common theme, other than frequent attempts at humor and a general 60s psychedelia sound. On The Sunday of Life is an immature and incoherent album, but with beautiful, eerie, arresting soundscapes and decent rock instrumentation that may surprise the reluctant listener.

Voice (2 stars) ' Steven Wilson's voice is generally subdued and does not dominate the disc. His singing ranges from talk- singing (Radioactive Toy is particularly boring on this front) to timid melodic singing, to high-pitched comical (sure ') singing, and the occasional dramatic bits that work quite well. Other than the attempts at comedy, the voice is neither distracting nor impressive ' just there.

Sound (3.5 stars) - I have to admit, this debut is rather impressive and shows incredible promise on the young artist. The pristine sound quality is unmatched until his first real band album (Signify), the guitar and keyboard instrumentation is often outstanding, the percussion is often trippy and competent when a drum machine is not used. It is hard to be bored musically with this album, other than Jupiter Island and a few comedy-oriented songs with inferior music. What is most memorable to me is the expert crafting of psychedelic soundscapes, instantly worth noticing from the very beginning of the album (music for the head). Some intriguing semi-acoustic instrumental work like in Footprints or Begonia Seduction are so memorable that it is head-scratching why he abandoned those styles. The more traditional psychedelia and space rock have a bigger presence and get explored deeper in later albums, but one of the best examples of this sound from Steven Wilson is here in the extended 'It Will Rain a Million Years' ' a standout in his entire discography.

Song (3 stars) ' The songwriting half the time is quite immature but leaves room for excellent instrumental work. The problems relate to poor melody-making (Radioactive Toy) or some songs being constructed upon ideas that don't quite impress (fortunately, a handful of tunes are superior on this front). It is thankfully relatively free of awkward transitions between songs, possibly because the songs are generally based on few expanded ideas. The technique of building upon a theme is therefore quite competent when he applies it. The best example is 'It Will Rain a Million Years' which pulls you in and develops so seamlessly over a 10 minute duration with a blend of subtle repetition yet progressive structure that never quite climaxes yet ends satisfyingly.

Best Songs: Music for the Head, Third Eye Surfer, Nine Cats, Footprints, Begonia Seduction Scene, and particularly It Will Rain a Million Years ? however, many other tunes have interesting moments.

Report this review (#2188411)
Posted Friday, April 26, 2019 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is the debut album of Porcupine Tree, released in 1991. The early sound of PT in this album is pretty much psychedelic and trippy, especially in tracks that are more likely ambient pieces. Quite difficult to digest, and I feel a strong techno-pop elements scattered around the tracks. The wind section (mainly oboe) enriches the timbre and goes unexpectedly well with the psychedelic ambience.

Among my personal interests of this album is great guitar works by Steven Wilson. 'Nostalgia Factory' features great riffs and beautiful playing of wah pedal. 'Radioactive Toy' has a solid progressive rock taste. The guitar riff and the solo sections in the second half of the song are wonderful and makes this song one of highlights in PT catalog.

'Nine Cats' is a ballad song, with nice solo and acoustics guitar work. 'Begonia Seduction Scene' has acoustics arpeggios that reminds me to Greg Lake's guitar on 'The Sage'. 'Footprints' has a strange but beautiful riffs, its dissonant tone and ambience remind me to The Door's 'The End'.

'Music for the Head' and 'On The Sunday of Life' are great short tracks. It features many glissando guitar as one of PT signature. The sound of oboe brightens a bit.

While many of PT fans would vote for 'Radioactive Toy' as the best track, I choose 'It Will Rain for A Million Years' as my favorite. It has a good and complex structure as we expected from a progressive composition. This song is mostly instrumental (with a few lines of spoken lyrics). SW guitar work is really wonderful and passionate. Again, the wind section fits beautifully in this composition.

Some elements in this album that do not really fit to my taste are the over-distorted sound of SW vocal particularly in 'Linton Samuel Dawson' ; and too much techno pop feel in some tracks.

Overall I consider this as a good album, and I am glad to have this record to get to know better the journey of PT up to the sound of later albums that I adore.

Report this review (#2415719)
Posted Saturday, June 27, 2020 | Review Permalink
1 stars An average rating of three stars? That's ridiculously high. I mean, it's not terrible or unpleasant to listen but it's seriously one of the most boring and uninteresting albums I have heard in my life, it's miles away from what Steven Wilson would do later on in terms of quality and creativity.

I don't even know how to describe this album. Is it even an album? I don't think I can even call it an album, it's more like a College music project. Structureless, unbalanced, uninteresting and overall just uninspired. It's like Steven Wilson grabbed a bunch of demos and smashed them into one 77-minute album even though they don't fit at all.

I *think* (inside asterisks because, again, it's incredibly structureless) it's psychedelic rock. But the mood of the album changes with almost every single track which is very disorienting and messy. Linton Samuel Dawson, for example, sounds like if Rush made disco music and it doesn't fit at all with the mood of the rest of the album, although to be honest it's hard to say it even got a mood at all.

I'm seriously forced to give this a one star rating. In fact, I have no idea how you could possibly give this work more than two stars to be honest. Seriously, go listen to 2000-2009 Porcupine Tree.

Report this review (#2537984)
Posted Sunday, April 25, 2021 | Review Permalink
3 stars On the Sunday of Life was released in 1992. This album is a compilation of material released on both Tarquin's Seaweed Farm and The Nostalgia Factory, though more polished. The major differentiator is that this was the first Porcupine Tree album to be released on a label.

On the Sunday of Life is unquestionably the weakest of Porcupine Tree's major releases. It's cosmic, psychedelic rock with proggy leanings, but there are a lot of lackluster moments. This 75-minute album is laden with brief, ambient interludes, and the longer works often get lost in their own weirdness. The music is sparse and simplistic; it sounds like something produced by one musician who isn't particularly confident in his instrumental skills. Many of the moments feel as if Steven Wilson is trying to be daring, but it comes off as muddled and dissonant.

That's not to say On the Sunday of Life doesn't have good music on it. "Radioactive Toy" was Porcupine Tree's first true classic. It's a haunting, slow-building piece that is well-served by its stark simplicity; and "Footprints" hints at this act's more sinister future tones. "Linton Samuel Dawson", despite Steven Wilson's helium-infused vocals, is a damn catchy bit of poppy psych rock that can't help but worm its way into your brain. "This Long Distance" feels like a bridge between dark '80s synthpop and more modern-sounding prog rock, with its soaring guitar line and plinking synth undercarriage.

Review originally posted here:

Report this review (#2903270)
Posted Friday, March 31, 2023 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is PT's (well SW's anyway) answer to Floyd's Atom Heart Mother. In both cases, died in the wool fans will not be able to marry up work of this pre-era, a time BEFORE their fav band became the bees knees of prog; they will dismiss these early contributions and move on. But wait, stop .... in both cases they are critically wrong. Listened to with an open mind, there is plenty of prog to be found in these genius genesis works and they should not be dismissed so lightly. I worked my way through the entire PT canon, coming lastly to OTSOL and boy was I impressed .. you can feel so many seminal influences here .. ok not as polished in in Deadwing etc. but definitely there. Also you can feel a free flowing experimental Steven Wilson exploring soundscapes and ideas .. it's an absolute joy to hear. My advice to those not yet hearing this: go in with an open mind, forget PT as the author band and just enjoy the music - you will not be disappointed.
Report this review (#2942006)
Posted Monday, July 24, 2023 | Review Permalink

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